Tottenham’s Lo Celso, Romero and Sanchez compromise over South America international break mess

The world is now more than 18 months into the pandemic yet FIFA have still been unable to work out how international football can properly exist alongside the club game.

Tottenham have found that out once again when it comes to their players heading off to South American countries – Argentineans Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso and Colombian Davinson Sanchez as well as Serge Aurier’s games in Africa for for the Ivory Coast, should the right-back still be at the club beyond this week’s transfer window closure.

Romero and Lo Celso have already set off on their flight to meet up with the Argentine squad.

The problem on their return will come because the current rules state – at the moment without exception for sportsmen – that anyone returning from countries on the red list must isolate in a government-designated hotel for 10 days.

Even without the isolation element that’s very different to the likes of Harry Kane, Nuno Espirito Santo and Pierluigi Gollini having to stay in the The Lodge hotel at Tottenham’s Hotspur Way training complex for five days after returning from amber list countries.

There they were able to continue to train on private pitches and keep their fitness levels high.

Coming back from red list countries means something very different.

The current government regulations state that those returning from red list countries must head straight from the airport to a managed, government approved quarantine hotel.

The government regulations state: “There you will be spending the next 10 days in your room. Every room has a television and wifi and facilities to make tea and coffee. The ensuite bathroom will already be equipped with basic toiletries. Hotel staff will not enter the room while you are staying, and so there will be some disposable cleaning products available. There will be a laundry service if you need to have clothes washed.

“You must not leave your room except in exceptional circumstances (such as an emergency) or with explicit permission from the security staff.

“Family and friends cannot visit you while you are staying in quarantine. You are not allowed any visitors and should not allow anyone else into your room, nor can you visit anyone else in the hotel.”

Far from being able to exercise as easily on a private pitch as they would at The Lodge, the rules for exercise are different in this situation.

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“You will not as a matter of course be allowed outside to exercise during your stay,” read the guidelines.

“In very special circumstances, with specific permission from onsite security staff and where there is an appropriate and safe space to go, you may be able to leave your room for brief periods to go outside for exercise.

“If this is permitted you will be escorted and supervised by security staff at all times. You will need to wear a face covering and to follow social distancing guidelines.”

football.london understands that not all of the club’s players involved are keen to go to play for their countries due to the difficult return situation but there is pressure from some of the football federations involved for those called up to be available.

Some players called up from the Premier League clubs have families and the prospect of isolation for 10 full days in a hotel room is not ideal.

It is understood that Spurs – as other Premier League clubs have done – believe they have currently agreed with their players to not play the final match of their three international games.



Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso have flown off to join up with the Argentina squad
Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso have flown off to join up with the Argentina squad

For Lo Celso and Romero, that would mean returning after the match in Brazil on Sunday September 5 and for Sanchez following Colombia’s game in Paraguay on the same day.

Should the players return the following day that would rule them out of the Premier League match at Crystal Palace on Saturday September 11 and the Europa Conference League group stage game in Rennes the following Thursday.

They feasibly would then be available for the derby against Chelsea on Sunday, September 19 but what fitness they would have after 10 days without much of the standard of exercise they have been used to is unclear.

All of this comes after the Premier League announced last week that their clubs had “reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red list countries next month”.

The statement added: “This follows FIFA’s current position not to extend its temporary release exception for players required to quarantine on their return from international duty.

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“Extensive discussions have taken place with both The FA and the Government to find a solution, but due to ongoing public health concerns relating to incoming travellers from red list countries, no exemption has been granted.”

A compromise with the players appears to have been struck but the clubs will be hoping that some exemption can be sought from the government, at the least to isolate in an environment more controllable by the club – such as The Lodge for Spurs.

Nuno Espirito Santo is clearly frustrated by the situation when it comes to the authorities rather than the players.

“It’s a problem that not affect us but affects all clubs and all the South American players playing in the Premier League,” he said.

“We have to obey the government law. We will try to do so but at the same time we don’t have any kind of help from FIFA, the government or the Premier League in support in this situation.

“We know what it means for all of the players to play for their national teams. It’s something they’re very proud of, so what we are trying to do is anticipate the situations. So expecting that not only for the next international break but also there will be a couple more, so we need to be clear.”

He added: “We are trying to take care of that situation. Trying to anticipate the damage. Us as a club we are working on that.

“What we are trying to do is anticipate when they return. We are trying to create a plan.

“All of us as managers have this problem to try and solve. We cannot stop it but we try and find the best way for so when they return we can get them sooner. There are ways and we as a club we are trying to provide a support for our player.”

That way looks to be the deal to return before the final game and Spurs will be hoping that more help arrives from the authorities.

For Sanchez, he is in top form right now for Spurs and will not want to lose his place in Espirito Santo’s plans.

For Lo Celso and new signing Romero, they are trying to break into the starting XI in the Premier League and for all three this international break has come at the worst possible time.

Source by Football London

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