Newcastle and Wolves could face Fifa punishment over failure to release players

Premier League clubs might be prevented from picking players over missed World Cup qualifiers

English Premier League clubs Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers could face punishment from Fifa over their failure to release players for World Cup qualifiers.

The Chilean, Mexican and Paraguayan football associations have contacted Fifa after some clubs refused to let their players take part in the latest round of international matches due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK.

Newcastle's Paraguayan attacker Miguel Almiron and Wolves' striker Raul Jimenez were among those denied permission to play.

Fifa have the power ban players not released in an international window for a period of five days after the period ends.

English second tier club Blackburn Rovers could also be affected due to their striker Ben Brereton not being available for Chile.

“I love playing for my club and country and I would never turn down an opportunity to represent either,” the 22-year-old said on social media after it become clear that he was going to miss crucial games against Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

“I am really disappointed about the position I find myself in, which appears to have affected players in England more than other countries.

“I hope for a solution soon but this looks less likely with every passing day.”

Clubs decided to take a stand over countries who are on the UK red list for Covid-19 restrictions that would have meant players being stuck in quarantine for 10 days isolation in a designated hotel.

The Premier League said clubs would not release players if they would have to quarantine. Wolves, Watford and Newcastle backed this decision but Aston Villa allowed Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia to link up with the Argentina squad, as did Tottenham Hotspur with Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero.

Liverpool Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah will miss this week's home match against Angola in Cairo but could play in Gabon, which is not on the list, next week.

Before the international break, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said he hoped “common sense” would prevail.

“I think we are taking advice from the Premier League. The clubs are speaking about it because obviously it affects them.

“The one thing you can’t do is let him [Almiron] go and come back and then expect him to stay in a hotel for 10 days because then he’ll miss probably three games for us on his return.

“It is a bit of a common concern. Let’s hope, with all these things, common sense prevails. I think you would be highly unlikely to send your players to a red country.”

Updated: September 2nd 2021, 2:29 PM
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