European clubs are seeking urgent talks with FIFA after raising concerns about player safety at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.
The emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19 has led countries around the world to reimpose travel restrictions and travel bans and could lead to a new dispute over the player’s launch of international service next month.
The global public health situation looks set to be a major challenge ahead of the Africa Finals in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6 and international windows elsewhere from January 24 through early February.
The European Club Association (ECA) Board of Directors has expressed its “deep concern” about the safety and well-being of players in international matches early next year, “particularly in light of the deteriorating conditions in football, public health and the seriousness of the challenges faced during the recent international windows.”
A statement from the European Club Association added: “The Board of Directors decided to deal urgently with FIFA to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to protect the players and the interests of the club as the health situation continues to deteriorate alarmingly.”
It is believed that the Egyptian Chefs Association is striving to avoid a repeat of the problems surrounding the international window in September.
At the time, Premier League clubs refused to release players serving in the red list countries, because at that time they would be required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days upon their return to the UK.
Four Argentina internationals based in England reported for their country, but their presence led to the World Cup qualifier match against Brazil being abandoned on 5 September.
Brazilian health officials said the four – Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Emiliano Buendia and Tottenham players Giovanni Lo Celso and Christian Romero – had violated local quarantine rules, with the UK placed on Brazil’s red list. The pair traveled from Villa with the permission of their club, and the Spurs duo did not.
Four countries (Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay) initially asked FIFA to ban players whose call-ups were refused from playing for their clubs for five days after the suspension, but they eventually dropped the request.
For the October window, a new agreement has been reached in which fully vaccinated players can travel for international service to the Red List countries on the basis of a 10-day quarantine at the club’s facility, leaving isolation only for training and playing.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp criticized the deal, saying it was “not a real solution”. The managing director of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Mahita Mulango, has called for the quarantine period to be halved to five days.
The association’s board of directors said opposition to FIFA’s proposals to host the biennial World Cup was “unanimous”, a position representing more than 240 clubs across the continent that provided three-quarters of all players present at the last match.
He said the new calendars for men’s and women’s international football matches should ensure the “right balance” between the club and the international game, and provide the necessary guarantees and guarantees for players who have been “neglected” in the current proposals, and take advantage of them. The Football Club and the Egyptian Chefs Association vote on any decision that is made.
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