South American players who missed World Cup qualifiers set for Premier League duty

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has indicated that the players in the Premier League under threat of a five-day ban from FIFA for missing World Cup qualifiers in South America have been cleared to play in games this weekend.

Manchester United's Edinson Cavani plays for Uruguay. - REUTERS

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has indicated that the players in the English Premier League under threat of a five-day ban from FIFA for missing World Cup qualifiers in South America have been cleared to play in games this weekend.

Brazil triggered a FIFA regulation in a bid to prevent eight of its players from competing for their respective clubs in England's top flight. They were called up for World Cup qualifiers but didn’t travel after Premier League teams objected to their players going to South American nations red-listed by the British government because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Other South American national teams missing England-based players included Uruguay (Edinson Cavani), Chile (Francisco Sierralta), and Paraguay (Miguel Almiron).

The five-day window would cover the period immediately after the current international window, which for South America ended on Thursday. However, Almiron is available to play against Manchester United on Saturday, according to Bruce.

'Difficult situation'

“It’s a difficult one for the players because the ultimate is to play for your country. They’ve been drawn into a difficult situation," Bruce said. "However, a bit of common sense has prevailed and he's available for selection so we’re extremely pleased.”

However, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told liverpoolfc.com that he wasn't sure whether the South American players would indeed be allowed to play or not. He said, "I don't know what will happen at the weekend, to be honest."

He added, "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 also mentioned the consequences his players would have had to face had they went for World Cup qualifiers. "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."

Among the Brazilian Premier League players under threat are Alisson, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool; Ederson and Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City; Thiago Silva at Chelsea; and Fred at Manchester United.

The Premier League teams had said that if players went, they then would have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine upon their return and have little chance of training.

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