PREM clubs were last night given the green light to field all their “banned” South and Central American stars after calling Fifa’s bluff.
A dramatic day saw the 20 top flight clubs strike a collective deal to take matters into their own hands.
Brazil keeper Ederson is set to play for Man City at Leicester on Saturday[/caption]
Liverpool have hinted Alisson will be between the sticks at Leeds on Sunday[/caption]
Rather than accepting the five day bans laid down in Fifa rules for refusing to release their players for World Cup duty, senior executives of the clubs decided to force the issue.
They agreed that all the Brazilian, Mexican, Chilean and Paraguayan players would be free to play this weekend.
There were verbal assurances around the virtual boardroom table that NONE of them would make any complaints of other Prem sides fielding “ineligible” players or seek action by the League against their rivals.
That was enough to help force Fifa to find a solution rather than seeing the row spiral out of control.
World chiefs had spent three days of frantic discussions with the Prem and Government over the issue without any easy solution.
But they now believe they will be able to get exemptions from “red list” quarantine requirements, allowing the players to take part in World Cup qualifiers next month and in November.
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As a result, Zurich leaned on all four countries to drop their complaints.
Mexico and Paraguay were the first to agree, freeing Raul Jimenez to play for Wolves at Watford and Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron to face Manchester United. Chile also gave their consent for Watford’s Francisco Sierralta.
They were eventually followed suit by Brazil, clearing the way for Alisson and Fabinho to play for Liverpool against a Leeds side including Raphinha tomorrow, although Roberto Firmino has been ruled out through injury.
Manchester City can also play Ederson and Gabriel Jesus at Leicester, with Thiago Silva available for Chelsea against Aston Villa and Fred eligible to play against Newcastle.
The dropping of the complaints also confirmed both Thiago Silva and Fred can play in their clubs’ opening Champions League group games on Tuesday.
It was a diplomatic compromise that also underlined the power of the Prem clubs and their willingness to fight their own corner.
But it still relies on the Government giving those exemptions – which may be a controversial call – to prevent the whole issue erupting again in just a few weeks.
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