Premier League clubs ‘nervous’ over internationals after Brazil-Argentina ‘mess’, says Aston Villa CEO

Brazil’s match against Argentina was halted by officials after a row over quarantine rules

Premier League clubs have been left feeling “incredibly nervous” following the growing complications surrounding international call-ups and the remarkable scenes which saw Brazil and Argentina’s World Cup qualifier halted due to a row over quarantine rules, according to Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow.

The match was stopped after four Argentinian Premier League players – Villa’s Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez and Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso – were accused of breaking travel restrictions to play in the match by Brazilian health authorities.

Villa had allowed Buendia and Martinez to play in Argentina’s first two fixtures of the international break after the Premier League announced they would not permit players to travel to countries on the UK Government’s Covid-19 red list. Spurs had not given their permission, however, for Romeo and Lo Celso to travel and the club are expected to fine the pair when they return.

Returning players from red-list countries face a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.

Argentina have confirmed that Buendia and Martinez have travelled back to Europe and will miss Thursday’s match against Bolivia as agreed. While they will be unavailable for Saturday’s Premier League match against Chelsea, they could return to the squad the following weekend.

“It is a mess,” Purslow told the BBC.

“What happened in Brazil on Sunday was one of the most extraordinary things I’ve seen watching football in all my life.

“I don’t quite understand how it happened but it was very regrettable and very damaging to sport, when we had done everything we could to come to an amicable and sensible arrangement with the Argentine FA to enable our players to play in very important games.

“We already have a significant congestion issue with World Cup qualifying games in South America so between now and October I really hope to see a sensible arrangement put in place because nobody wants to see a repeat of what happened.

“That would make any reasonable club executive feel incredibly nervous about releasing players for overseas travel while we are in the midst of this crisis.”

South American countries are in the midst of their World Cup qualifying campaign, which was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to catch up, triple-headers of qualifiers are being played in September and October, with further international breaks planned in November, January and March.

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