Premier League clubs fear repeat of quarantine mess as fury grows in the row over releasing South American stars for World Cup qualifiers
- Clubs agreed not to release players who faced travelling to red-list countries
- Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero defied club orders to play for Argentina
- Stars could miss at least three matches because of quarantine requirements
- Premier League clubs concerned they will face the same problem in October
Premier League clubs fear a repeat of the crisis over their South American players next month as fury grows in the row over releasing their stars for international duty.
Tottenham are angry that Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero defied club orders not to join up with Argentina and they are now likely to miss at least three matches because of quarantine requirements.
It comes as Argentina intend to hold on to their Premier League players despite an understanding they would release them after their crunch World Cup qualifier against Brazil in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Giovani Lo Celso (right) and Cristian Romero defied club orders not to join up with Argentina
Clubs are concerned that they will face the same problem in the October international break unless exemptions are granted, especially with other South American players in the Premier League having seen the Argentina stars break ranks.
Government sources have insisted no last-minute exemptions will be granted this time around but will review them ahead of the October break.
Argentina’s decision to keep hold of their players will also frustrate Aston Villa who only allowed goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and record signing Emiliano Buendia to leave on the proviso they would not feature in Argentina’s game against Bolivia in the early hours of Friday morning.
However, Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni said there was ‘no doubt’ that all his players would remain with the squad for all their three matches.
Argentina are expected to hold on to Aston Villa duo Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia
In another remarkable twist, there are now doubts over whether the four will be allowed to play against Brazil. Brazilian health officials are set to investigate whether Lo Celso, Romero, Martinez and Buendia broke quarantine rules on their arrival and confirm whether they have the correct quarantine exemption documents to play.
Argentina and Brazil are both on the UK’s red list for travel, meaning players would have to isolate in a hotel for 10 days on their return. However, the four Argentinian players — as well as Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez who will leave the Colombia camp after their game against Paraguay — plan to fly to Croatia to quarantine there as it will allow them to train more freely than in a UK hotel where there is little chance to leave their rooms.
It was only a few weeks ago that Premier League clubs unanimously agreed not to release players who faced travelling to red-list countries to avoid having to quarantine.
Brazil were left without a host of their star players and they plan to demand FIFA sanction clubs who refused to release them. And there is likely to be a backlash among Brazilian players if they lose out to a full-strength Argentina side.