Premier League nears deal over isolation rules for international stars

Premier League players returning from international matches in red list countries will only have to quarantine for five days and will still be allowed to train AND play for their clubs, under plans being drawn up by the league and government

  • The Premier League is close to an agreement on quarantine rules for players
  • Some top-flight players were prevented from going to red-list nations last month
  • New rules mean they will only have to quarantine for five days on their return  
  • They will also be able to train and play with their clubs while they quarantine 
  • Other travellers from red-list countries must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days at a cost of  £2,285, and arrange for two Covid-19 tests during that period

The Premier League is close to an agreement on the quarantine rules for top-flight players travelling to red list countries during the upcoming international break.

Impacted players are hoping to receive special dispensation that will see their quarantine time cut from 10 to five days and also still be allowed to continue to train and play while they isolate on their return to the UK.

Top-flight chiefs have been in talks with the Government and football federations in the relevant countries after the controversy during the first fortnight gap of the season.

The Premier League is close to a deal on quarantine rules for top-flight players travelling to red list countries during the upcoming international break

The Premier League clubs unanimously agreed not to release players due to rules which meant they would have to undergo strict 10-day hotel quarantine on their arrival back in the UK forcing them to miss matches.


‘Ordinary’ travellers from red list countries arriving in the UK have to stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 11 nights on their return – at a cost of £2,285.

The rules apply to travellers, who have been in a red list country during the previous 10 days, and they are in force regardless of whether a person has been fully vaccinated.

The quarantine has to be booked in advance. Failure to do so can lead to a fine of £4,000, with the hotel bill on top.

In addition to the 10-day quarantine period, people travelling from the red list countries must also arrange for two Covid-19 tests during their hotel stay.

But the rules are poised to be relaxed for this month’s break.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith, who has three players – goalkeeper Emi Martinez, midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and winger Bertrand Traore – affected, said: ‘My understanding is the authorities and Government are working together to come up with a bespoke sporting agreement where players can go and play and we can actually bring them back and they can play in the games as well but obviously with the safety of everybody of paramount importance because we don’t want any more of this spreading around.

‘I’m hopeful there will be an agreement in place. Both our players who will be affected are fully vaccinated as well which is a real positive for us.

‘That’s what I’m led to believe [that they can still train and play] because they’ll be going into one bubble with their respective countries and coming back into our bubble at the football club.

‘Obviously they won’t be able to go and mix with anyone outside of that. That I what I believe the working parties are trying to get sorted and I think they are very close to that as well.’

Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso all went on international duty during the last break and were fined having accepted their call-ups against their club’s wishes. They missed two games after the break.

Aston Villa’s Martinez and Emi Buendia were given permission to go for Argentina’s first two matches against Venezuela and Brazil. They were ruled out for one while they were in quarantine.

Chelsea’s Thiago Silva (left) and Gabriel Jesus of Man City (right) have been called up by Brazil

Emi Martinez (L), Cristian Romero (C) and Giovani Lo Celso (R) have all been called up by Argentina

Brazilian health officials caused the Argentina game with Brazil to be abandoned last month due to four Premier League players not quarantining on their arrival to South America

FIFA president Gianni Infantino had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request exemptions for players due to play in ‘red list’ countries during the last international break

All five players then headed to green list Croatia where they were able to train outside while they isolated as opposed to being restricted to a hotel, speeding up their ability to return to action.

In total, almost 60 players were due to travel to 26 red list countries during the September window though a number of nations reacted to the Premier League decision by opting not to call up British-based players.

Romero, Lo Celso and Martinez have all been selected in the latest Argentina squad and were already planning to accept their national team calls.

Having omitted them last time, Brazil have called up eight Premier League-based players while Colombia have included Sanchez and Everton’s Yerry Mina in their latest party.

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