Corona rules: FIFA against Europe's top clubs

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Corona rules: FIFA against Europe's top clubs

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino

The World Cup qualification becomes a point of contention between FIFA and Europe's top clubs. The reason is the corona quarantine rules.

A dispute is looming between the world governing body FIFA and the top European leagues when it comes to the obligation to post national players for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. While FIFA President Gianni Infantino made a clear appeal for the leagues and clubs to act in solidarity, the Spanish and English leagues made it clear that they did not want to implement the parking requirement for the World Cup qualifiers from September 2nd to 10th.

Infantino shows no understanding for this. “The transfer of players for the upcoming international window is urgent and incredibly important,” said Infantino in a statement published by the world association. “I call on all FIFA member associations, leagues and clubs to show solidarity, as is appropriate for global football.”

The English Premier League clubs had previously announced that they would not release any players for World Cup qualifiers in those countries that are on the British government's red list due to the corona pandemic. According to the information, the decision affects almost 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs, who are to travel to 26 countries on the Red List in September. The list mainly includes countries in South America and Africa. People entering from these countries have to go into hotel quarantine for ten days.

The Spanish professional league wants to support all clubs that do not want to assign players for the upcoming games in South America. However, LaLiga did not give the corona pandemic as the reason. One could not accept the “serious unilateral decision” of the FIFA to extend the parking period for South America from two to a total of eleven days, it said.

The German Football League DFL also has a clear position in this regard. Resignation decisions would have to take into account the interests of the clubs as employers of the players and the interests of the national leagues. “An extension of the posting period by two days and a posting obligation despite quarantine obligations do not do this,” said a DFL spokesman.

The DFL is in close contact with clubs affected by international matches, “who are coordinating with the local authorities in order to clarify possible quarantine obligations for returning players,” said the DFL spokesman. This applies primarily to the posting of players from the South American association Conmebol.

FIFA had decided to extend the international match periods in September and October 2021 by two days so that Conmebol can play three instead of two games. At the same time, the world association has unilaterally decided not to extend the exemption for the release of players if there is a quarantine obligation when they return to their clubs.

Infantino, meanwhile, wrote to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for assistance. “We fought in solidarity and united against COVID-19. Now I call on everyone to ensure that national players are released for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers,” said the Swiss. Many of the best players in the world would play in England and Spain: “We are convinced that these countries take their responsibility and protect and uphold the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.”

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