Pep Guardiola will not let City’s internationals leave if quarantine is required

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Ian Parker, PA
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will join Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp in stopping his players from travelling for international football if they would need to quarantine on their return.

Under current coronavirus guidelines, arrivals from red-list travel-ban countries are subject to 10 days’ hotel confinement.

FIFA has given clubs dispensation to prevent players who may be affected by the regulations from joining up with their countries during the international window at the end of the month.

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Since Klopp said on Tuesday he would be using that rule to tell affected players they could not travel, several Premier League managers have followed suit.

Guardiola said he never wanted to stop players from representing their country, but would make an exception as his side edge closer to the Premier League title.

“I think it makes no sense if the players go to the national team and then have to isolate for 10 days when they come back,” he said.

“We’ve worked incredibly tough for seven, eight or nine months and after the international break comes the real part of the season, and (if) important players, maybe six, seven, eight, nine players cannot play for 10 days, it makes no sense.

“They are not going to fly. That’s for sure. If they can fly, play with the national team and come straight back to training, they’ll fly.”

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Craven Cottage
Jose Mourinho said he would wait to see if more fixtures were moved (Neil Hall/PA)

Some nations have moved fixtures in order to try to avoid travel restrictions.

Portugal have announced they will play their ‘home’ game against Azerbaijan in Turin, while Norway will face Turkey in Malaga.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said he wanted to wait to see if more fixtures were moved before making a decision on his own players.

“In this moment I don’t want to speak,” the Portuguese said. “I want to see what is going to happen. Is Brazil v Argentina going to be played in South America or is it going to be played for example in London? I don’t know.

“I know little things, Portugal will play in Turin, Norway will play in Spain. Let’s see what is going to happen, where the matches are going to be played and of course the clubs have the right to protect itself because Jurgen is right, the clubs pay the players.”

Roy Hodgson File Photo
Roy Hodgson wants more nations to look at moving fixtures to get around travel restrictions (Julian Finney/PA)

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson urged more nations to look at moving fixtures where possible.

Ghana internationals Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew could be selected to play an away game against South Africa this month, while Cheikhou Kouyate’s Senegal are due to face DR Congo.

Hodgson said: “Certainly as far as the red-list countries are concerned, I don’t think there is anything to discuss on that matter.

“It would be my suggestion teams like Ghana and any other teams who have games where it will involve them playing in a red-list country, if they are that interested in English-based players, to try and maybe move the game to somewhere where the players could travel to.”

Earlier on Friday, Aston Villa boss Dean Smith said that Argentinian goalkeeper Emi Martinez, Brazil midfielder Douglas Luiz and Zimbabwe midfielder Marvelous Nakamba have been told they cannot travel if the games remain scheduled for countries on the red list.

Dean Smith File photo
Dean Smith said he had explained to his players they would not travel if quarantine would be required (Nick Potts/PA)

He said: “I’ve spoken to all the players that it applies to at the football club. Although they want to go and represent their countries, they fully understand.”

The problems have led to some questions over whether the matches should even be played at present, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino said it was right to go ahead if protocols were respected.

“We have to act responsibly and definitely when we travel anywhere we act in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations,” he said.

“At the same time as well, however, we have to realise that football gives hopes, smiles and a little bit of joy to many, many people around the world…

“It is important, the same as for club football, that national team football remains alive. National team football is for the vast majority of countries the only source of revenue.”