The government will announce new rules to allow players who travel to red zone countries during the international break to play upon their return, but conditions will be stricter for those who have not received the Covid-19 vaccine .
The plans would mean returning players would be forced into a quarantine similar to that experienced by Olympic athletes in Tokyo this summer. Allowed to train and play matches on the day of their return, players would otherwise be confined to a hotel room for 10 days.
It is understood that the new regulations – which are expected to be announced on Friday – will only apply to players who have received both Covid vaccines. The move will be privately welcomed by the Premier League. Low vaccination levels are a common feature among top teams, and the league is concerned about the possibility of further competition restrictions in the event of a winter wave of coronavirus.
The government’s planned exemptions will benefit players from South American countries the most, with every team currently on the red list. They were developed in response to the events of the last international window when Premier League clubs were at the center of international rows regarding quarantine.
Some clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have simply refused to release their South American players, a decision taken by Fifa with the threat of a ban from participating in domestic matches for five days. This threat was never carried out, as the national federations chose not to apply the sanction, a diplomatic gesture that was reportedly made in the hope of allowing the kind of quarantine changes that have now been agreed to.
There will certainly be hope that some of the events of the last international window can be avoided, such as when the World Cup qualifiers between Brazil and Argentina ended prematurely after Brazilian health officials took over. storming the pitch by claiming that the Argentinian players had failed to confess their presence in the UK in the previous weeks.
The last window ended when the leaders of Fifa, the Football Association and the Premier League sent a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking to resolve the issue.
“The British government is now ready to find a reasonable solution with the three organizations, which are working closely together in a spirit of mutual understanding, for the benefit of all,” FIFA said in a statement.