The likes of Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson and Fred will be unavailable for their Premier League clubs this weekend
Premier League teams including Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will be without a host of star players this weekend after the row between English clubs and the Brazilian Football Association escalated dramatically.
FIFA, Goal can confirm, has informed clubs that the controversial ‘five-day rule’ will be imposed by the Brazilian FA, who are angry that players were withdrawn from the latest round of World Cup qualifiers.
That would prevent eight players from five clubs from featuring in this round of domestic fixtures, although it has emerged that Everton forward Richarlison will be allowed to play this weekend, due to the Toffees’ strong relationship with the Brazilian federation. Richarlison was allowed to play for Brazil in the Olympic Games in Beijing earlier this summer.
Who is set to miss out?
Liverpool trio Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino are all impacted, and will be ruled out of the Reds’ trip to Leeds on Sunday. Leeds winger Raphinha will also miss the game at Elland Road.
Manchester City duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus will miss the trip to Leicester on Saturday, while Manchester United midfielder Fred is out of his side’s home clash with Newcastle the same day. Fred will also, much to the Red Devils’ annoyance, sit out their opening Champions League group clash away to Young Boys next Tuesday.
Chelsea are in the same position, missing veteran defender Thiago Silva for the games against Aston Villa and Zenit St Petersburg.
Other teams will also be affected. Tottenham will miss Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso, and Aston Villa will be without Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, all of whom were allowed to join up with the Argentina squad for this round of international fixtures – a move that led to the farcical scenes at the qualifier with Brazil in Sao Paulo, in which the players were threatened with arrest for an alleged breach of coronavirus rules.
In addition to the Brazilian FA, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay have also asked FIFA to apply the five-day rule, a move which will impact Wolves’ Raul Jimenez, Watford’s Francisco Sierralta, Newcastle star Miguel Almiron and the Blackburn striker Ben Brereton Diaz.
What is the five-day rule?
The five-day rule is designed to protect international teams from unnecessary, club-influenced withdrawals.
Players who are not released for international duty can, in accordance with FIFA, be banned from featuring for their clubs for a five-day period following the conclusion of international fixtures. In this instance, that period covers September 10-14.
Premier League clubs had decided unanimously to stop players from appearing for their country in the latest round of international fixtures, if it meant travel to a red-list country, which would require a 10-day period of quarantine upon their return. FIFA, who are understood to be uneasy with the ongoing row, unsuccessfully lobbied the UK government to allow quarantine exemptions for players returning from international duty.
Should clubs refuse to adhere to the five-day rule, then Article 22 of FIFA’s disciplinary code states that they will forfeit any game in which an ineligible player has appeared, and face a corresponding fine. Players, too, may be hit with sanctions.
How will the Premier League respond?
The Premier League is likely to take a dim view of the Brazilian FA’s stance, and sources have told Goal that the league intends to lobby against the decision, and will strive to find a resolution.
That will be vital, with two further rounds of international fixtures to come before the end of the year, but as it stands their top clubs are set to be without a number of star men this weekend.