FIFA president Gianni Infantino has written to Boris Johnson to request that any UK-based players travelling to red-list countries on international duty are excused from quarantine.
World Cup qualifiers are set to be played next week and many nations could be missing some of their best players.
On Tuesday, Premier League clubs reluctantly agreed not to release any players who are set to play matches in countries that are on the UK’s coronavirus red list. Anyone returning from one of these ‘danger areas’ is currently required to undertake 10 days of quarantine, which would rule them out of important club fixtures next month.
This will affect around 60 players in total from 19 Premier League clubs, who were due to travel to 26 red-list countries in total.
Despite this decision, FIFA have not given up hope that the UK government could offer quarantine exemptions as they have done many times previously. Infantino is currently lobbying Downing Street to excuse footballers from self-isolation, as he revealed in an official FIFA statement.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”