European clubs seek urgent FIFA talks over Cup of Nations safety concerns

Europe’s clubs are seeking urgent talks with FIFA after raising concerns about the safety of players at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The emergence of the omicron variant of Covid-19 has caused countries around the world to re-impose travel restrictions and bans, and could lead to a new controversy over the release of players for the mission. international service next month.

The global public health situation seems to pose a major challenge before Africans the final in Cameroon January 9 to February 6, and international windows elsewhere starting January 24 and running through February 1 or 2.

The European Club Association (ECA) Board of Directors expressed “deep concern” about the safety and welfare of players during international matches early next year, “especially in light of the the worsening public health situation and the serious challenges faced in recent international seasons.”

An ECA statement added: “The Board of Directors has agreed to work 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.”

The ECA is understood to be desperate to avoid a repeat of the problems surrounding the September international window.

At that time Premier League clubs refuse to release players on duty in red-listed countries, as at that point they will have to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days upon returning to the Kingdom Brother.

Four England-based Argentina internationals reported to their countries, but their presence led to the cancellation of a World Cup qualifier against Brazil on September 5.

Brazilian health officials say four people – Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia and Tottenham’s Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero – breached local rules on quarantine, with the UK on their red list. Brazil. The Villa pair traveled with the permission of their club – the Spurs duo did not.

Four countries – Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay – initially asked FIFA to ban the denied players from playing for their clubs for a period of five days after the break, but ultimately rejected the request. there.

For the October window, a new agreement has been reached in which fully vaccinated players are allowed to go on international duty in red-listed countries on the basis of their 10-day quarantine. at the club’s premises, isolated only for training and competition.

PFA CEO Maheta Molango calls for the October international holiday-related quarantine period to be halved (Documentation from Khalid Bari Photography/PA)

(PA Media)

That deal was criticized by the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who said it was “not a real solution”. The CEO of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Maheta Molango, has called for the quarantine period to be halved to five days.

The ECA council said opposition to FIFA’s proposal to host the World Cup every two years was “unanimous” – a position representing more than 240 clubs across the continent, who provided three-quarters number of players present at the last World Cup in Russia in 2018.

It said the new international match schedule for men’s and women’s football must ensure “the right balance” between the club and the international match, with the necessary safeguards and protections in place. players it says are “ignored” in the current proposals and take into account the voices of club football and the ECA in any decisions made. European clubs seek urgent FIFA talks over Cup of Nations safety concerns


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