Gianni Infantino asks English clubs to release players for international duty

The president of Fifa, Gianni Infantino, has said English clubs have an obligation to release players for international duty and has appealed to Boris Johnson to grant quarantine exemptions to those returning from countries on the UK’s red list.

Premier League clubs unanimously decided on Tuesday not to release players for the forthcoming international break who face a 10-day quarantine on their return. The English Football League followed suit yesterday.

Fifa remains in talks with clubs and governments in an attempt to resolve the quarantine issue but, should the stalemate continue, world football’s governing body could ban players from featuring for their clubs until five days after the end of an international break. Almost every Premier League club would be affected, with nearly 60 players from 19 top-flight clubs due to travel to 26 red-zone countries. Brazil’s World Cup qualifying prospects could be damaged without key players for a triple-header.

“I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game,” said Infantino in a statement. “Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.

“On the issue of quarantine in England, for players returning from red-list countries, I have written to [prime minister] Boris Johnson and appealed for the necessary support so players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries.”