Soccer-Premier League clubs can play South American players after ban threat averted

FILE PHOTO: FIFA's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich
FILE PHOTO: FIFA's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland August 5, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

September 11, 2021

(Reuters) -Premier League clubs that had prevented players from Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay from travelling to participate in World Cup matches will be allowed to play them this weekend after a threat of a five-day ban was averted.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City were among clubs who did not release players for the current international break as they would have been travelling to countries on the UK’s COVID-19 red list.

Their home countries had the right to trigger the ban but agreed to waive the FIFA rule after talks.

The decision had been reached “based on positive signals and constructive dialogue FIFA has received from the UK government towards the international match window in October,” the game’s governing body said in a statement.

The leaders of FIFA, the Football Association and the Premier League had sent a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking to resolve the issue.

“The UK government is now open to find a reasonable solution with the three organisations, who are working closely together in a spirit of mutual understanding, in the interests of everyone,” FIFA’s statement said.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)