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Premier League to block footballers from playing internationals in “red list” countries

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It may not seem like it based on recent attendances at Premier League stadia, but COVID-19 is very much still with us, and a part of our reality as football continues to be played. The first international break of the calendar will take place in September, and due to the ongoing threat of the Delta variant, the Premier League decided that it will not release its players to participate in internationals that take place in so-called “red list” countries.

The decision was made unanimously by representatives from all 20 Premier League clubs. The list of “red listed” countries includes a number of countries across the world, though most are located Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, and the Middle East. Red list countries are identified by the UK government as countries with significant spread of COVID-19 and that require a 10-day isolation in a “managed quarantine hotel” when returning from the UK.

This potentially affects the following Tottenham players who were likely to be called up for their countries next week: Giovani Lo Celso & Cuti Romero (Argentina); Davinson Sanchez (Colombia); and Lucas Moura (Brazil). Neither of those five will join their national teams should they play for or in a red-listed country; it’s also possible this could affect other Tottenham squad members if they are due to play away to a red-listed country during the break.

In a statement, Premier League Chief Executive said the following:

“Premier League clubs have always supported their players’ desires to represent their countries – this is a matter of pride for all concerned. However, clubs have reluctantly but rightly come to the conclusion that it would be entirely unreasonable to release players under these new circumstances.

“Quarantine requirements mean that players’ welfare and fitness will be significantly impacted. We understand the challenges that exist in the international match calendar and remain open to workable solutions.”

The block does not extend to Amber-listed countries, which requires a five-day isolation period and successful negative COVID test.