Steve Bruce hoping ‘common sense prevails’ over quarantine restrictions

·3-min read

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has called for “common sense” as a club-versus-country row threatens to develop over the upcoming international window.

A number of clubs are concerned about players having to quarantine on their return to the UK if they are released to play matches in countries currently on the Government’s ‘red’ travel list.

Bruce has suggested it would be “highly unlikely” that Paraguay forward Miguel Almiron would be allowed to travel to South America for World Cup qualifiers next month.

As Paraguay is a country currently on the red list, Almiron would need to quarantine for 10 days in a managed hotel after flying back to Britain.

The Egyptian Football Association has already confirmed that Liverpool will not be allowing Mohamed Salah to join up with his country’s squad for their clash with Angola in Cairo because of red-list restrictions.

Liverpool also have three Brazilians in Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino who could be affected and Bruce says a number of players throughout the Premier League will be impacted.

Bruce said at a press conference: “I think we are taking advice from the Premier League. The clubs are speaking about it because obviously it affects them.

“The one thing you can’t do is let him (Almiron) go and come back and then expect him to stay in a hotel for 10 days because then he’ll miss probably three games for us on his return.

“It is a bit of a common concern. Let’s hope, with all these things, common sense prevails. I think you would be highly unlikely to send your players to a red country.

Miguel Almiron in action for Newcastle
Steve Bruce is hoping keep hold of Paraguay forward Miguel Almiron, pictured (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“It is a difficult situation for everyone concerned but we were aware of it. We were already talking to the Premier League and other Premier League bosses about how to go about it.

“Liverpool obviously have an issue with three or four. I think it affects something like 60 players. Let’s hope common sense prevails.”

The problem is exacerbated by the recent decision of world governing body FIFA to extend the September and October international windows in South America by two days to catch up on postponed fixtures.

A potential solution is that the Government could grant quarantine exemptions for players. However, the PA news agency understands that any such agreement will not materialise.

Discussions have been held between football authorities and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport but a relaxation of rules is not currently being considered. The Government does not feel it can make allowances for footballers at the present time as it seeks to protect public health.

In this instance, clubs could try negotiating with FIFA to try to get dispensation not to release players.

FIFA, which would have the power to sanction clubs not releasing players, has yet to comment. Last season the governing body did grant clubs dispensation not to release players where quarantine was an issue.

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