Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino called on Friday for a “fair and just” solution to the issue of players who could be forced to quarantine upon their return from international duty later this month.
The French champions risk losing the likes of Neymar, Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria for a game against Ligue 1 leaders Lille on April 4 if they are required to self-isolate after featuring in World Cup qualifiers in South America.
“It’s a complicated matter, which involves the federations, the government and FIFA at the same time, in the search for a fair and just agreement for everyone,” said Pochettino.
“We have to find the best solution so the competitions remain as fair as possible, and so the players receive equal treatment regardless of the country where they play,” he continued.
“During this pandemic period, it’s a decisive element that is going to have an impact on results. It’s also an important international window, with key qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup.”
Neymar, who is working his way back from injury, and Marquinhos are expected to join up with Brazil for their game against Colombia in Barranquilla on March 26. They are due to face Argentina in Recife four days later.
French government regulations stipulate that anyone entering the country from outside Europe must self-isolate for seven days on arrival and present a negative Covid-19 test at the end of that period.
Without any exemption from the government, PSG’s South American contingent would be unavailable for the visit of Lille, who lead the league from Pochettino’s team by two points.
“We need a decision so that neither the federations nor the clubs suffer any loss from a problem that cannot be resolved,” said Pochettino.
“We also need to remember that the players have been at a high tempo since the resumption of competition. The responsibility of the organisation is to protect them.”
“I’m saying that between the government, at global level, and FIFA, who can intervene, we need to take a measure that is fair for all clubs,” he added.
“We’re in a situation where we need the protection and help from an organisation like FIFA who can get people together and have the means to guarantee a fair set-up.”
FIFA announced last month it was extending its relaxation of rules obliging clubs to release players during international windows until the end of April.
Clubs can refuse to release their players if they would have to quarantine on their return to club duty due to Covid-19 regulations.