Newcastle United star could be granted travel exemption
Earlier this week we reported that Miguel Almiron was set to face a club v country quandary.
Deep in a relegation battle, Newcastle United have a tough programme in their next five games, facing Man Utd (away), Wolves (home), West Brom (away), Villa (home) and Brighton (away). There then follows an international break, which is where the problems could start.
Miguel Almiron is scheduled to link up with Paraguay in March, with World Cup qualifiers away to Chile (24 March 2021) and then home to Colombia (29 March 2021).
The UK Government has both countries on their virus red list, which then requires any traveller to have a ten night quarantine.
There is currently no exemption on this quarantine rule for elite football players, or indeed any other sport.
These are World Cup qualifiers and it could be the only chance Miguel Almiron has of qualifying for a World Cup finals with his country, by the time the 2026 finals come around, Miggy will be aged 32.
If Miguel Almiron did go away in this international break next month and the quarantine situation remains the same, he would then miss the Burnley away and Tottenham home matches in early April, with then only seven more PL games remaining.
However, a solution could potentially now be available.
The Times report today (Friday 19 February 2021) that the government are considering granting one-off exemptions for Premier League players to travel for international matches in March, even if the countries are on the red list of virus hotspots.
The Times say that Whitehall sources have told them that whilst there will be no blanket exemption, clubs will be able to put forward a case for individual players making trips next month, if they can show that the risks involved can be minimised.
Decisions will be made case by case and will take into account whether infections are rising in the country concerned.
South American countries currently feature highly on the red list and Paraguay are one of those, meaning Newcastle United will need to try and demonstrate Miguel Almiron can as far as is humanly possible, safely play for Paraguay in their two World Cup qualifiers and not have to quarantine on his return to the UK.
Brazil and Argentina play each other next month in a World Cup qualifier and both those countries are on the red list, a significant number of Premier League players expected to be included in those two squads. Hopefully the pressure that will exert, can help ensure that exemptions are allowed, especially with Miguel Almiron being Newcastle’s best player recently. Steve Bruce at last allowing Miggy to play further up the pitch, not just as an extra defender.
The Times quote a Whitehall insider saying:
“What we know is that players have been much more at risk of transmission in domestic situations so if the clubs can demonstrate that their players will be effectively kept in bubbles, then there may be some flexibility but much will depend on the state of the virus in the countries concerned closer to the time.”
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