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Brazil recall eight Premier League players for World Cup qualifiers

Gabriel Jesus and Ederson
Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Ederson are among eight Premier League players called up by Brazil

Brazil have selected eight Premier League players for October’s World Cup qualifiers despite the country remaining on the UK’s travel red list.

Last month most English clubs refused to release players called up by South American countries.

Currently anyone travelling to Brazil from the UK must quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in the country and 10 days when they arrive back in the UK.

But the Brazil FA said “positive talks” have been held over travel exemptions.

Liverpool duo Alisson and Fabinho, Manchester City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Chelsea defender Thiago Silva, Manchester United midfielder Fred, Leeds forward Raphinha and Tottenham defender Emerson Royal have all been called up for matches against Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay.

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho Paulista, the Brazil national team coordinator, said the eight England-based players had been called up with the belief an agreement would be made next week allowing players to avoid travel restrictions.

“We’ve had lots of positive meetings with Fifa, the Premier League and the British government, and we trust that there will be a positive solution next week,” he said. “That is why we have called them up.”

The Brazilian football federation will have to reach a separate agreement with the country’s health authority to exempt England-based players from quarantine on their arrival.

In August the Premier League released a statement saying its clubs had “reluctantly but unanimously” decided not to release players for matches in red-list countries during September’s international break.

However, four players, Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, and Giovani lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham, travelled to Argentina to join up with their national side.

But that led to farcical scenes at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena when the Brazil v Argentina World Cup qualifier was abandoned after five minutes when Brazilian health officials came on to the pitch to stop the match, saying the four England-based players for Argentina had to quarantine.

Despite complaints being made by the Brazilian football federation, as well as those from Mexico, Paraguay and Chile over the Premier League not releasing players for matches, all affected players were allowed to play their next matches for their clubs.

Fifa has the power to enforce five-day suspensions for players not released to play for their national sides.

Brazil have won all eight of their qualifiers so far and are six points clear of Argentina at the top of the South American qualifying group for Qatar 2022.

‘There must be a solution’ – Klopp

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has called on the UK government to find “some kind of solution” to prevent another club-versus-country row.

“There must be a solution obviously, because we cannot just leave it like this and say it’s not a problem. Yes, it is a problem,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure the relevant people are working on this. I know they’re working on this, but there’s nothing decided yet, at least as far as I’m concerned.

“We have a problem when the Brazilians are allowed, or when they go, to the next internationals.”

Liverpool are set to travel to Watford on 16 September without Alisson and Fabinho, as Brazil host Uruguay on 15 September.

Klopp added: “I know it’s a Liverpool problem and nobody else’s problem, and good for Watford.

“But I just don’t know how you can do these kind of things where nobody reacts on the schedule. We have two problems. One is the schedule, it was always a problem.

“TV and other guys, the Premier League, say, ‘OK, that’s how it is, they have to play, let’s have a look how they can sort that’.

“Another thing, it’s not good for the players or the clubs as well and I hope the government comes up with some kind of solution.”

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