Players returning to England from red list to play if jabbed

LONDON (AP) — Fully vaccinated players will now be able to travel to World Cup qualifiers in countries on England’s red list without having to fully quarantine on their return, enabling them to directly return to action with their clubs.

A bespoke quarantine exemption was announced Friday after being agreed between the Premier League, the government and the health authorities.

People arriving in England from countries on a red list due to high coronavirus risks are usually required to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel. That meant many players missed out on playing World Cup qualifiers in South America in September, while others still went but then returned via spending 10 days in Croatia which ruled them out of games for Premier League clubs.

The new policy could disclose which players have not been jabbed, if they don’t travel to South America or parts of Africa that are on the English red list.

Fully vaccinated players returning to England can still not stay at home and must instead use a club facility, which they can only leave once a day to train or play.

“We have worked closely with football authorities to achieve an outcome that balances the interests of both club and country while maintaining the highest levels of public health and safety,” the British government said in a statement. “Our best defense against the virus is vaccination and these new measures will allow fully vaccinated players to fulfill their international duties in the safest, most practical way possible, while allowing them to train and play with their clubs as early as possible upon their return.”

Brazil has already issued call-ups to eight Premier League players for World Cup qualifiers. Brazil will play Venezuela on Oct. 7 in Caracas, Colombia, three days later in Barranquilla, and then host Uruguay on Oct. 14 in Manaus.

The relaxation of quarantine for players in England follows talks between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in New York last week.

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