FIFA issues massive update on release of UK-based players for October qualifiers

UK-based players could be cleared to travel to Zimbabwe for the World Cup qualifier against Ghana next month after FIFA revealed that they are holding constructive talks with the English FA, the Premier League and the UK government.

EPL clubs unanimously agreed not to release the players for the September international matches in countries on the red list, and the Warriors were among those affected by the ruling.

The national team missed Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Luton striker Admiral Muskwe, Ipswich forward Macauley Bonne, Bournemouth defender Jordan Zemura, David Moyo of Hamilton Academical and Wigan Athletic captain Tendayi Darikwa.

Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay were also affected, and on Wednesday, they moved to invoke FIFA’s Article 5 to bar the English clubs from selecting the players they had refused to release for national duty.

The developments triggered extensive talks between FIFA, the FA, the Premier League, and the four associations, and a resolution was reached late on Friday night to waiver the bans.

In a statement, FIFA said it’s now liaising with the UK government, the FA and Premier League to avoid repeating the scenario when the next international window comes round in October.

The statement reads: “Based on positive signals and constructive dialogue FIFA has received from the UK government towards the international match window in October, recognising that players have no control over the extreme situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and sanitary restrictions currently imposed.

“As a sign of good faith, goodwill and cooperation, the member associations of Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay, in close consultation with FIFA, have taken the decision to withdraw their complaints in relation to the England-based players, and players bound to play in England, who were not released for the recent international matches.

“On 8 September 2021, the FIFA President, the FA Interim Chair and Premier League Chair sent a joint letter to the UK Prime Minister. The UK government is now open to find a reasonable solution with the three organisations, who are working closely together in a spirit of mutual understanding, in the interests of everyone.”


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