No players for African Cup

European clubs are calling for immediate talks with FIFA after raising concerns about the safety of players at next month’s African Cup of Nations.

The emergence of the Omicron version of COVID-19 has prompted countries around the world to reimpose travel restrictions and restrictions and could spark a new controversy over the player’s release for international service next month.

The global public health situation is set to present a major challenge ahead of the African finals to be held in Cameroon between 9 January and 6 February, and the international window to begin on 24 January and elsewhere until early February.

The board of the European Club Association (ECA) expressed its “deep concern” about the safety and well-being of players during international matches early next year, “particularly in light of the deteriorating situation in football. Public health and serious challenges”. During the recent international window “.

An ECA statement said: “The Board has decided to engage urgently with FIFA to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to protect the interests of the players and the club as the health conditions become dangerous.” It’s getting worse.”

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

At the time, Premier League clubs refused to release players on duty in Red List countries, as they would then be required to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel upon their return to the UK.

Four England-based Argentina internationals reported for their country, but their appearance led to the abandonment of the World Cup qualifier against Brazil on 5 September.

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Brazilian health officials said four – Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Bendia and Tottenham’s Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero – violated local quarantine rules with the UK on Brazil’s red list. The Villa pair had traveled with their club’s permission, the Spurs pair did not.

Four countries (Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay) initially asked FIFA to ban players whose call-ups were refused to play for their clubs for a period of five days after the hiatus. , but eventually dropped the request.

For the October window, a new agreement was reached in which fully vaccinated players could travel to Red Listed countries for international service on a quarantine basis at a club facility for 10 days, only for training and playing in isolation. Excluding.

That deal was criticized by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who said it was “not a real solution”. Association of Professional Footballers Managing Director Mehta Molongo has asked the quarantine period to be halved to five days.

The ECA board said it was “unanimous” its opposition to FIFA’s proposals for a two-year World Cup, a position representing more than 240 clubs across the continent, which last provided three-quarters of all players. World Cup in Russia in 2018.

He said the new international match calendar for men’s and women’s football should ensure the “right balance” between club and international sport, offer necessary safeguards and safeguards to players “neglected” in existing proposals, and take The voice of club football and the ECA must be taken into account in any decision.

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