Premier League ruling could gift Leeds United clear advantage for Liverpool and Newcastle games

The Premier League have announced that they have “reluctantly but unanimously” agreed to not release any players called up to play fixtures in ‘red-listed’ countries during next month’s international break.

As part of the United Kingdom’s response to Covid-19, many countries have been listed as highly dangerous as other parts of the world look to combat the deadly infection.

The UK’s guidelines state that anybody returning from a ‘red-listed’ country must isolate for ten days upon arrival to the UK.

And this ruling has been causing a headache for the Premier League over recent days as a ten-day quarantine would mean many of the league’s biggest stars would be forced to miss at least two rounds of fixtures upon resumption of the Premier League in mid-September

However, after a meeting earlier this week, the Premier League have decided to block the 60 players, from 19 Premier League clubs, from joining up with their international side.

On Tuesday night the Premier League released a statement explaining the rationale behind their decision.

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“Premier League clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month.

“Extensive discussions have taken place with both The FA and the Government to find a solution, but due to ongoing public health concerns relating to incoming travellers from red-list countries, no exemption has been granted.

“If required to quarantine on return from red list countries, not only would players’ welfare and fitness be significantly impacted, but they would also be unavailable to prepare for and play in two Premier League match rounds, a UEFA club competition matchday and the third round of the EFL Cup.”

For Marcelo Bielsa, though, this will undoubtedly hand him a boost for Leeds‘ September fixtures against Liverpool and Newcastle due to Raphinha initially being called up to Brazil’s side by national team manager Tite.

Brazil is currently placed on the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’ and with their final World Cup qualifier due to be played in the early hours of September 10th, against Peru, Leeds would have been without one of their star players for the Premier League fixtures against Liverpool and Newcastle due to the quarantine regulations.

In addition, winger Helder Costa would have also found himself missing for a handful of fixtures due to quarantine requirements, as a result of being called up to the Angola (also red-listed) squad for the fixtures against Egypt and Libya.

This also means Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker will all be available to Jurgen Klopp for the Reds’ visit to Elland Road on September 12.

However, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has called on the support of the British Government to challenge the Premier League’s ruling.

As reported by the BBC: “FIFA president Gianni Infantino has written to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask for his support in convincing Premier League clubs to release players for World Cup qualifiers in red-list countries.”

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