September 28 – Argentina have selected three English Premier League players for next month’s World Cup qualifiers despite the country remaining on the UK’s travel red list.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and Tottenham duo Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso have been called up for games against Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru between October 8 and 15.
Last month, most English clubs refused to release players called up by South American countries for qualifiers but a raft of them went anyway. As a result of joining up with Argentina, Romero and Lo Celso were fined by Tottenham on their return for disobeying the club’s orders.
Since last Friday, Argentine nationals do not need to quarantine after arrival in the country from overseas, if they are vaccinated and test negative for Covid. However, anyone arriving in the UK from Argentina must quarantine for 10 days.
Villa and Tottenham both have Premier League fixtures on the weekend of 16-17 October, fuelling an already sensitive situation.
Still fresh in the minds of all parties are the farcical scenes at the Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo earlier this month which was abandoned after just seven minutes when Brazilian health officials came on to the pitch to stop the game, saying Argentina’s four England-based players had to quarantine.
To complicate things further, FIFA has the power to enforce five-day suspensions for players not released to play for their national sides.
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