SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil has triggered a FIFA regulation in a bid to prevent eight players from competing for their respective clubs in the English Premier League this weekend.
They had been called up for World Cup qualifiers but didn't travel after Premier League teams had objected to their players going to South American nations, which are red-listed by the British government because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Brazilian soccer confederation confirmed to The Associated Press that it asked FIFA to stop the eight players, as well as two at Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, from being fielded until five days after the end of the current international window, which for South America ends on Thursday.
The Premier League players — Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino (Liverpool); Ederson, Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City); Thiago Silva (Chelsea); Fred (Manchester United); and Raphinha (Leeds) — did not travel to Brazil to play three World Cup qualifiers after being instructed by their clubs to stay in England.
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.
Everton striker Richarlison did not to travel either, but the Brazilian soccer body did not include him on the list for restrictions because of the good relationship between executives on both sides. Everton recently allowed him to play at the Tokyo Olympics, in which Brazil’s team won gold.
Zenit was included on Brazil's list after midfielder Claudinho and striker Malcom, who also played in Tokyo, left the Brazil training ground on Sept. 1 hours before the Seleção traveled to Santiago to play Chile in the first of the three World Cup qualifiers.
FIFA had granted two additional days for South American countries to play games in both September and October so three qualifiers can be played in each window, rather than the usual two.
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Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press