Football: Premier League bosses unsure if Brazilian players available as club v country row simmers

Jurgen Klopp criticised South American football authorities for their lack of foresight.
Jurgen Klopp criticised South American football authorities for their lack of foresight.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Premier League managers on Friday (Sept 10) said they did not know whether they could select their Brazilian players for matches this weekend as a “senseless” club versus country row threatens to disrupt plans.

English top-flight clubs refused to release players for international duty in countries on the British government’s red list, including Brazil and Argentina, due to the 10-day coronavirus isolation period required on return.

As a result, Brazil football chiefs have asked global governing body Fifa to invoke a five-day suspension, the sanction for clubs not releasing their players.

Discussions are continuing, with clubs arguing the unprecedented circumstances of the global pandemic were sufficient justification for their decision.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he still does not know whether he will be able to select Alisson Becker or Fabinho for Sunday's game against Leeds. 

A number of other clubs including Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Leeds, are all affected.

"I don't know what will happen at the weekend, to be honest," Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.

"In this moment, we have to see what other people decide and then we will again accept that probably, do what people tell us and try to win a football game."

Klopp, a consistently vocal opponent of the congested global football calendar, also criticised South American football authorities for their lack of foresight.

"We all know we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is difficult for all parts of life and for football it was difficult as well - we have a few more games to play than we have to play usually internationally," he added.

"We had a summer break where all of a sudden somebody organised again a Copa America, where they could have played the games, for example, without playing a Copa America, which they had a year before."

Klopp outlined the problems his players would faced had they travelled.

"Our players, if they come back then they have to quarantine 10 days in a random hotel, next to the airport probably, which is not good for any people who have to do that but for a professional football player, being 10 days in a hotel - with the food they get from there - you lose everything," he said.

"You lose muscle, you lose everything. It means 10 days in the hotel, coming back (and) needing pretty much 10 days to get on track again."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted he was unsure whether Brazil duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus would be available to face Leicester.

“If they had travelled there, they wouldn’t have been allowed to play,” said Guardiola, referring to strict rules in Brazil covering arrivals from Britain. “If they do it, so they cannot play in Brazil, and after they come back cannot play here for 10 days. If they don’t fly they are suspended for five days because they are here. It makes no sense."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, set to lose the services of defender Thiago Silva for Saturday’s game against Aston Villa, said it made no sense for his club or Brazil.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has Brazilian midfielder Fred in his ranks, described the situation as a “farce”.

“It is a lose, lose, lose situation for everyone, national teams, players, clubs,” said Solskjaer.
“It has been a farce. The players want to play.”

Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo, whose team face Crystal Palace this weekend, said Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez would not return to the club until next Saturday.

The trio are currently in Croatia, having defied the ban on travel.

Argentine players Lo Celso and Romero and Colombian Sanchez are able to train outdoors in Croatia and then return to England without quarantining, rather than having to do hard quarantine in a hotel.