Just days after invoking Article 5 to block Premier League clubs from selecting players who were refused calls for the international fixtures in September, FIFA came back canceling their previous notice.
Premier League clubs had agreed in August not to honor national team calls for players who were supposed to travel to countries on the UK Government’s red travel list.
In their latest ruling, FIFA decided players called up by Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Mexico who didn’t travel for internationals would still be allowed to play at the weekend for their Premier League employers. A request from the Brazilian Football Confederation which was initially approved by FIFA had previously hit the panic button, alerting the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, or Manchester United not to use their Brazilians from 10 to 14 September.
But consultations between FIFA, the English Football Association, the Premier League, and the Football Associations in Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Mexico finally ended with a conclusion that was favorable to both the players and their clubs. The resolution was reached on Friday night, less than 24 hours before the Premier League games kick off.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 11, 2021
Klopp: ‘The players wanted to play, the clubs wanted to let the players go’
Liverpool will now be permitted to play Alisson, Fabinho, and Firmino against Leeds on Sunday, with Ederson and Gabriel Jesus also available for Manchester City against Leicester on Saturday. Chelsea will also benefit, being able to use Thiago Silva against Villa on Saturday, while Fred could be involved in Manchester United’s game against Newcastle on the same day. Had FIFA not changed their first decision, some of the players mentioned would have also missed their teams’ Champions League debuts on Tuesday. Wolves and Mexico forward Raul Jimenez, Newcastle’s Paraguay midfielder Miguel Almiron and Watford’s Francisco Sierralta of Chile can play this weekend, despite their respective FAs first being on the same page with Brazil.
“The players wanted to play these international games, the clubs wanted to let the players go but it was not possible,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said in a press conference on Friday.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel asked for a ‘reconfiguration’ of the qualifiers: “Personally, I think a solution may be to move games from red listed to green listed countries, as we did in the Champions League.”
English top-flight clubs did not want their players to travel because of the quarantine restrictions they would have faced on their return to the UK, ruling them out for 10 days.