Whilst the Premier League is understood to have held so-far unproductive talks with the Government about relaxing quarantine laws for footballers returning from “red list” countries, the Egyptian Football Association is lobbying FIFA after Liverpool refused to release Mohamed Salah to ensure he can face Leeds.
Raphinha received a first Brazil call-up for games in Argentina and at home to Chile and Peru. As Brazil and Argentina are on the Government’s red list he would have to isolate for 10 days on his return, as would Liverpool’s Alisson, Fabinho and Firmino.
Leeds host Liverpool in the Premier League on September 12, two days after the Peru game, and are at Newcastle United on 17th.
Liverpool have told Egypt Salah is unavailable for World Cup qualifiers against Angola in Cairo on September 2, and in amber-listed Gabon three days later.
“The Egyptian Football Association had received a letter from Liverpool FC apologising for the inability of its player, Mohamed Salah, to join the national team,” said a statement.
“It is reported Liverpool FC took the same position with a number of its foreign players.”
Last season, clubs could refuse to release internationals if they had to quarantine on their return but that is no longer the case.
Almost all Leeds’s other internationals, including England’s Kalvin Phillips, have September matches in amber-list countries.
Only those fully-vaccinated do not have to isolate on returning from amber-list countries. Managers including Mikel Arteta, Nuno Espirito Santo, Steve Bruce, Pep Guardiola and Neil Warnock have urged their players to get vaccinated amidst concerns about low take-up amongst footballers. Raphinha could be rested for tonight’s sold-out League Cup second round tie at home to Crewe Alexandra. Supporters are being urged to collect tickets before noon if possible.
Last six games: Leeds United DLWWWW, Crewe Alexandra LLLWD
Referee: B Speedie (Merseyside)
Last time: Leeds United 5 Crewe Alexandra 2, September 6, 2008, League One.