FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged the Premier League and other leagues to release their players in the upcoming international break.
FIFA is no longer allowing exemptions for players to opt out of the trips if they are forced to quarantine on their return to countries to resume club duties.
This, however, didn’t stop the Premier League from denying almost 60 players, who represent countries on England’s red-list, from going on international duty and competing in the World Cup qualifiers this September.
The decision wasn’t only made by the Premier League official body as all clubs ‘unanimously’ agreed that this was for the greater good of their teams, their players and the tournament as a whole.
The Premier League also claims to be worried about the concerned players’ fitness as they would have to miss at least two league games after the international break, with some of them even having continental and cup games due to quarantine protocols.
Spain might also follow suit as the Spanish Federation revealed they will support any club that won’t allow their players to go on international duty.
However, Infantino and FIFA are infuriated by these decisions and are attempting to reach an agreement with the concerned governments to ease restrictions on the players in order for them to be able to represent their countries.
“We have faced global problems together in the past and must continue to do so in the future. The release of players in the upcoming international windows is a matter of great urgency and importance. I am grateful for the support and cooperation from many stakeholders in the game during this challenging period,” read Infantino’s official statement.
“I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game. Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.
“On the issue of quarantine restrictions in England, for players returning from red-list countries, I have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and appealed for the necessary support, in particular, so players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries in qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup™, which is one of the ultimate honours for a professional footballer. I have suggested that an approach similar to that adopted by the UK government for the final stages of the EURO 2020 be implemented for the upcoming international matches.
“Together we have shown solidarity and unity in the fight against COVID-19. Now, I am urging everyone to ensure the release of international players for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.”