Chaos on the red list: Spurs and Villa players have flown and top tier clubs can now lose Brazilian stars
Chaos on the red list: Tottenham and Aston Villa players fly to Argentina and top clubs can now lose Brazilian stars amid threat of FIFA sanctions over quarantine requirements
- Brazil tries to renegotiate the release of their stars for international matches
- Premier League clubs met and agreed last week to prevent top stars from traveling
- Spurs and Aston Villa have made deals with Argentina and others could follow
The Premier League’s red-list pact was plunged into chaos on Monday night as Brazil attempted to renegotiate the release of their stars and FIFA got through the threat of sanctions.
Top clubs met last week and agreed to no longer report their stars for international service in countries on the UK’s red travel list due to the requirement for 10 days of quarantine in a government hotel on their return.
However, Tottenham and Aston Villa have signed agreements with Argentina to allow four players – Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia of Villa and Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso of Tottenham – to participate in two World Cup qualifiers in Venezuela and Brazil, both in red. list.
The Premier League’s red-list pact has been plunged into chaos – with the Argentine star including Tottenham duo Giovani Lo Celso (L) and Cristian Romero (R) heading for international service
Richarlison seems to express his disapproval on Instagram in line over internationals
Romero posted a photo on social media of the four laughing in a private plane bound for South America.
Spurs centre-back Davinson Sanchez is also said to be signing up for duty with Colombia, which is also on the red list.
But it is the release of the Argentine quartet that has caused a stir in Brazil, as head coach Tite named nine Premier League stars from six different clubs to his original roster.
After being told on Friday that they would not be released, Tite selected nine replacements only to find 48 hours later that Argentina, their fierce rivals and opponents in Sao Paulo on Sunday, would be at full strength, including those who went head-to-head with the eredivisie ban.
On Tuesday night, the Brazilians tried to remove some of their original first-choice players from their clubs, albeit with little optimism.
Fellow Premier League star Roberto Firmino (R) is also likely to be affected by the ongoing feud
Thiago Silva, of Chelsea, posted a somber selfie on Instagram along with a photo of hands tied and a comment: ‘Do I have to say something?’ while Richarlison posted a photo of himself in action for Brazil with the caption @everton.
FIFA follows the developments. As football’s governing body, they have the power to suspend players who are not released for five days when called up to represent their country in official matches like this one.
Such a sanction would exclude the nine players from the first Premier League game after the international break: Liverpool’s Fabinho, Alisson and Roberto Firmino, Manchester United’s Fred, Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Ederson, Silva, Everton’s Richarlison and Raphinha of Leeds.
It’s a delicate balance for the clubs. Even with a FIFA ban, they may decide it is the lesser of two evils not to release their players. At least they can train, prepare with teammates and stay fit, instead of training alone in a government quarantine hotel.
Possible FIFA suspensions for unreleased players could be a concern for Alisson (L) and Jurgen Klopp
According to reports in Argentina, the four Premier League players could fly home via Croatia to train through the quarantine period and avoid 10 days of isolation in a hotel and minimize the impact of their absence.
The repercussions will continue and some Premier League clubs are baffled as to why, after reaching a ‘unanimous’ decision, others left and struck deals with their players to play.
Premier League chief Richard Masters may also want to know, having been asked to make a rare intervention in international business and put his name under a statement.
Aston Villa appears to be the first to concede, followed closely by Spurs, with boss Nuno Espirito Santo claiming he could not deny players the chance to represent their country in the absence of more solid support from authorities such as FIFA or the government.