France lifts quarantine ruling on foreign players returning from FIFA World Cup qualifiers

France lifts quarantine ruling on foreign players returning from FIFA World Cup qualifiers
Fecha de publicación: 
21 March 2021
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The French Sports Ministry has changed its policy over imposing quarantine restrictions on foreign players in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 returning from FIFA World Cup qualifiers outside the European Union.

"The Ministry of Sports confirms that international players returning from official competitions outside the EU with their national team, whether French or foreign, are exempt from the seven-day waiting period as long as they comply with a strict sanitary and medical protocol (bubble + daily PCR test on their return to their club)," the Sports Ministry said, according to Reuters.

Earlier this week, the French league said that Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs "would not make available for selection the foreign players summoned for matches outside the EU/EEA zone during the next international period in March".

Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino was annoyed that yesterday's news came so late.

"It's a big surprise to hear that on Saturday," he said.

"These situations could be anticipated.

"For us and the other clubs, it's not the best way or the best timing."

Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino, left, was dismayed by the late change of policy announced by the French Sports Ministry ©Getty Images

Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino, left, was dismayed by the late change of policy announced by the French Sports Ministry ©Getty Images

FIFA said last month that clubs were not expected to release players during the international window if there is a "mandatory period of quarantine or self-isolation of at least five days upon arrival" in the country where the club is located or the country where the match is taking place.

But on Friday (March 19) FIFA president Gianni Infantino urged clubs to let their players leave for international duty.

"We are living in a very difficult situation, especially but not only in Europe with regard to the COVID-19," Infantino said following the latest FIFA Council meeting.

"Health has to remain a priority which is why we relaxed our rules a bit."

“(But) obviously we would like the March games to go ahead with the best possible squads.

"We call on all parties to understand that national team football is very important for the vast majority of countries round the world."

The South American Football Confederation called off its qualification matches planned for the upcoming window over player availability issues.

Qualifiers in the Asian region have also been postponed due to COVID-19.

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