The UK government’s green, amber and red lists of international countries has caused confusion and heartache for families and holiday-makers up and down the land.
And now the system is causing a headache for football bosses too with the international break upcoming.
Under the rules of the traffic light system, anyone living in England is barred from travelling to a red list country for any reason without the necessary period of quarantine on returning to British soil.
That means, unless an agreement can be found, that no Premier League or Championship players will be released to play in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in red list nations. The Spanish FA have also confirmed that they will be banning their domestic stars from playing as well.
LaLiga apoyará en todos los ámbitos la decisión de los clubes españoles de no liberar a sus jugadores internacionales para la convocatoria de CONMEBOL y realizará acciones legales pertinentes contra esta decisión que afecta a la integridad de la competición.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) August 24, 2021
The good news for England supporters is that their away fixtures – they’ll head to Hungary on September 2 before travelling to Poland on September 8 – will go ahead as planned, with those nations on the amber list.
The situation is so grave that FIFA president Gianni Infantino has personally spoken to Boris Johnson in an attempt to secure an exemption for the Premier League’s stars to represent their countries.
“We have faced global problems together in the past, and must continue to do so in the future,” Infantino said.
“I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game.
“Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.”
Which Countries are Affected by Red List Ban?
Premier League chiefs have announced that their clubs ‘unanimously’ came to the decision of not releasing their players for games played in red-list countries.
A tasty double-header of games for Brazil will see them take on Chile and Argentina at the start of September, but a galaxy of stars – including Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Richarlison – will not be making the trip.
Liverpool have confirmed that Mo Salah will stay in England, as opposed to travelling to Egypt, and all told it is estimated that 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs will stay at home rather than head abroad during the international break.
The complication is with amber-list countries, with the rules dictating that non-vaccinated players would also have to quarantine on their return to England – ruling out trips to Portugal, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Non vaccination is something of an issue in English football, too.
The exception, of course, is green list countries, which have no restrictions applied. Those include Germany, Croatia, Norway and Slovakia.