Spain’s La Liga has blocked South American players from joining up with their countries for World Cup qualifiers over the next few months in a protest move against the scheduling of matches.
CONMEBOL, the continent’s government body, has created a 12-day window for a maximum of three fixtures to be fulfilled in September and October, but that is two days longer than their European and African counterparts UEFA and CONCACAF.
As a result, Spain’s top division has moved to stop affected players from going on international duty, unless the situation can be resolved, because of a perceived “clear detriment to the integrity of La Liga and its competition.”
Organisers have blamed FIFA, saying it is a “problematic situation generated” by world football’s governing body, but they have also left the door open for a u-turn should a solution be reached.
But it is another blow to South American countries, which are all on the UK’s red coronavirus travel list (with the exception of the Falkland Islands).
The Premier League has itself blocked players travelling to any of the red list nations, as they would need to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days on their return.
The move by both competitions means the likes of Brazil and Argentina will be without the bulk of its best players.
La Liga’s move has been made despite FIFA president Gianni Infantino pleading for “solidarity” and claiming the release of players would be “right and fair for the global game.”
He also pleaded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make an exception to the UK’s rule, but it is understood the government has no plans to do so.