South American players who missed WC qualifiers set for Premier League duty

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has indicated that the players in the English Premier League under threat of a five-day ban from FIFA for missing World Cup qualifiers in South America have been cleared to play in games this weekend.

Brazil triggered a FIFA regulation in a bid to prevent eight of its players from competing for their respective clubs in England’s top flight. They were called up for World Cup qualifiers but didn’t travel after Premier League teams objected to their players going to South American nations red-listed by the British government because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Other South American national teams missing England-based players included Uruguay (Edinson Cavani), Chile (Francisco Sierralta), and Paraguay (Miguel Almiron).

The five-day window would cover the period immediately after the current international window, which for South America ended on Thursday. However, Almiron is available to play against Manchester United on Saturday, according to Bruce.

‘Difficult situation’

“It’s a difficult one for the players because the ultimate is to play for your country. They’ve been drawn into a difficult situation,” Bruce said. “However, a bit of common sense has prevailed and he’s available for selection so we’re extremely pleased.”

Among the Brazilian Premier League players under threat are Alisson, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool; Ederson and Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City; Thiago Silva at Chelsea; and Fred at Manchester United.

The Premier League teams had said that if players went, they then would have to spend 10 days in hotel quarantine upon their return and have little chance of training.

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