The Government Is Set To Refuse Fifa’s Request To Grant Exemptions For Premier League Players

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Government set to reject Fifa plea for Premier League quarantine exemptions and put public health first

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has made a personal plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a repeat of exemptions that applied during Euro 2020

The government is set to refuse Fifa’s request to grant exemptions for Premier League players wanting to travel to red list countries to play for their national team during the international break.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has contacted Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealing for him to issue special exemptions for nearly 60 players who have been told by their clubs they will not be released for international duty.

All 20 Premier League clubs held an emergency meeting on Tuesday and agreed to block the release of players to red list countries, due to the requirement to quarantine for 10 days on their return, causing a major row between the league and the world governing body.

Talks between the Government, the Football Association and the Premier League about the issue have been taking place for the past 10 days.

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“Premier League clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red list countries next month,” the league said in a statement on Tuesday, explaining that 19 clubs would be affected.

There are 15 World Cup qualifiers scheduled to take place in South America and the decision has huge implications for Fifa and the integrity of World Cup qualification. The move forced Infantino to contact Johnson asking for exemptions similar to those granted during Euro 2020, when Italy and Spain needed to travel to England for matches at Wembley.

But i has been told that the government is not set to change its stance. Officials have assessed the situation thoroughly and the decision has been made that public health must come first.

They do not want to be accused of double-standards by issuing one set of rules for footballers and one for the general public. They also see the exemptions granted for the European Championship as different, because there were a small number of teams involved who could be closely monitored, as opposed to footballers flying all over the world.

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Infantino said in a statement: “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.”

Infantino added: “The release of players in the upcoming international windows is a matter of great urgency and importance.”

The English Football League has followed their Premier League counterparts in refusing to let players fly to red list countries, while La Liga has said it will support Spanish clubs who wish to take the same stance.

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Fifa has the power to ban players from playing for their clubs if they refuse to play for a national team, and could yet exercise that power if clubs do not change their stance.

Premier League clubs claim it would affect players’ welfare and fitness if they have to quarantine for 10 days in a special hotel on their return. They would unavailable for two Premier League matches, a Champions League or Europa League fixture and a round of the EFL Cup.

Premier League clubs are also concerned that players would not be able to maintain match fitness while quarantining and that this situation will arise during international breaks in October and November