Liverpool may be without their Brazilian players against Leeds United this weekend. Here we try to explain a very complicated situation.
What’s the problem with Brazilian players?
This is a complex story that stems from the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions. They have a traffic light system that categories the risk from each country.
Green is fine and you can essentially enter the UK from any Green List country without issue. You must take a test but there’s no quarantine period.
Entering from an Amber List country means you must prove you have a full vaccination. Otherwise, you will have to quarantine for 10 days.
For the Red List, you must quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days, regardless of vaccination. This is the important one as Brazil is on that list.
It means that any players entering the UK from Brazil would have to quarantine and miss any Premier League fixtures within those 10 days. For Liverpool, that’s Leeds United away.
How did Liverpool & Brazil react?
Liverpool didn’t want to lose Alisson Becker, Fabinho or Roberto Firmino for 10 days. They sent a letter to the Brazilian FA, letting them know that they wouldn’t release their trio for international duty.
Per UOL, Brazil did not take kindly to that at all. They contacted FIFA and asked for help. They wanted football’s governing body to force Liverpool into releasing their players.
FIFA then wrote to Boris Johnson, asking for special rules for footballers returning from international duty. This was essentially an attempt to keep everyone happy but the request was denied.
Brazil, very unhappy with all of this, then pushed FIFA to enforce the ‘Five-day rule’. That’s a ruling that suspends a player for five days if their club doesn’t release them for international duty.
It’s a way of threatening clubs, basically. They might as well release the players if they’ll be suspended anyway. It’s usually there to stop false injuries and the like.
It has also been imposed on players from Chile, Mexico and Paraguay this week for the exact same reason.
So what now?
FIFA are expected to make a decision today but things got even more complicated over the weekend. Brazil faced Argentina but they also sort of didn’t.
Health officials stormed the pitch and cancelled the game after it turned out that several Argentinian players had skirted Covid-19 rules. Four, to be precise, all of whom play in England.
Now the CEO of the European Club Association believes FIFA can’t really suspend Premier League players after all of that. Surely, after all, the Brazilian English-based players would have had to quarantine as the Argentinian’s were supposed to? How could they have even played?
So it’s now very unclear what’s going to happen. Liverpool may be without their Brazilians this weekend – and Leeds without Raphinha – but at this point, anything could happen.