Pep Guardiola has highlighted the ridiculous situation which could lead to Brazil stars Ederson and Gabriel Jesus being banned from playing in the weekend Premier League game at Leicester.
The pair have been told they cannot turn out for Manchester City because their national FA has invoked the five-day rule aimed at stopping players who missed international matches for which they were called up.
Premier League clubs collectively decided to stop their South American internationals from travelling to play in World Cup qualifiers as Covid restrictions would have forced them into a ten-day quarantine on their return.
That included Jesus and Ederson, who stayed in Manchester rather than play in games against Chile, Argentina and Peru in the past fortnight.
But Brazil has reacted by stopping them playing for City – even though, as Guardiola points out, the Covid rules would have stopped them from playing for Brazil anyway.
That fact was underlined last week when the Brazil vs Argentina game was abandoned after the health authorities, supported by police, demanded the removal of the four Argentina palyers who had travelled from the UK.
Guardiola points out that the Premier League’s Brazil contingent would have been subject to exactly the same quarantine regulations.
The Premier League clubs decided that players would be withheld for that reasons – although Aston Villa and Tottenham both relented and allowed their Argentinian players to go, with calamitous results.
The League’s decision contravened Fifa rules, but the fact that players would have had to quarantine for ten days – and so miss more games – if they had travelled, contributed to that decision.
Guardiola said the situation was “crazy” and “ridiculous”.
“So, what if we had allowed them to travel to Brazil, like Argentina players have done? The police came on the pitch, and the Argentina players cannot play. The same would happen with Brazilian players, wouldn’t it?
“They are the same human beings, coming from England, and Brazil has to be protected from people coming from abroad, so that they don’t contaminate with Covid the rest of the Brazilian players – I understand that.
“So OK, stay here, because they cannot play. They would have had needed ten days (quarantine in Brazil) but it’s not possible because we played against Norwich and had toplay there three or four days later. So they had to stay here.
“Please help us. I don’t know what you have to do.
“On Wednesday, Argentina played in Monumental, a big victory 3-0 against Peru. That’s nice, congratulations, but afterwards they cannot play against other teams for those who pay their salary, and they want to win the Premier League games, or the French league, or afterwards the Champions League, which is already round the corner.”
“We have to find a solution, or every time it happens the same. And at the end, what happens?
“Tomorrow we have an important game and maybe two important players may not be able to play.
“It doesn’t matter because another one is going to play, and we have a lot of trust.
“Right now I don’t know what we are going to do. The club didn’t tell me anything, Fifa didn’t tell us anything, so hopefully before 3pm on Saturday we will know exactly what we have to do.
“The last two years in the pandemic the situation is completely different and it has influenced the way we move and the way we travel. But people are not thinking about the fact that still exists.
“I am confused and expecting the authorities to react to this kind of situation.”