FIFA has confirmed that it has relaxed a rule over players release that frees clubs from obligations to release all players to national teams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to provide additional flexibility regarding the release of players for national team duty and the registration of players with clubs in competitions that remain disrupted by the pandemic,” FIFA said in a statement on Friday.
The world governing body of football added that clubs, who are bound by regulations to release players for international duty, don't need to release players if they are expected to travel to countries that impose mandatory quarantine or self-isolation for at least five days upon arrival.
According to the UK rules, anyone returning from a “red list” country, which includes all of South America and parts of southern Africa, will need to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.
Elite sports stars are not exempt from the rules.
Under such circumstances, Leicester City duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, Everton's Alex Iwobi, as well Rangers’ Joe Aribo could all be allowed to stay back in their clubs and thus avoiding the hassle of travelling to participate in at least two rounds of World Cup qualifiers.
It is obviously bad news for Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr.
FIFA insisted that the temporary amendments are necessary measures amid the pandemic, adding “together with the confederations and member associations, we will continue to monitor the situation across the world, working together with them to ensure the health of all involved in upcoming international matches.”
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On the road to Qatar 2022 World Cup, the Super Eagles are drawn alongside Liberia, Cape Verde and Central African Republic in the second round of the qualifiers.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 years ago