August 31 – Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo has appealed for help both from football authorities and the British government to provide solutions to the South American international duty issue, which could see his club lose two players, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso, for an extended period.
All the Premier League’s Argentine players are set to defy orders not to travel on international duty despite their clubs unanimously deciding not to release them.
The clubs’ decision was taken so players will not have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to England. Argentina, Brazil and Egypt are among the nations currently on the UK Government’s red list regarding travel back to the UK.
“It’s a big problem, not only for our players, but for all the South American players playing in the Premier League because they have to obey the government law,” Espirito Santo (pictured) told Sky.
“But we must be aware that saying no to a national team is very difficult. We will see how things go but we are here to look after our players, and we will do our best to manage the situation.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said last week that he had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and “appealed for the necessary support, in particular, so players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries in qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup, which is one of the ultimate honours for a professional footballer.”
But Espirito Santo added: “Our position is clear, as a club we don’t approve the situation, so what we want is a solution for everybody, because this will be a big problem, not only for this international break, we have one in one month’s time, two months’ time, and we must find a solution, because we cannot stay without our players.
“At the same time, national teams demand, so it’s a difficult situation, that we expect solutions, or at least some answers. We don’t have any kind of help from FIFA, the government or the Premier League in support in this situation.
“We know what it means for all of the players to play for their national teams. It’s something they’re very proud of, so what we are trying to do is anticipate the situations. So expecting that not only for the next international break but also there will be a couple more, so we need to be clear.”
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