Premier League clubs have warned their players they must be ready to train at 48 hours’ notice amid Government plans to quarantine all arrivals to the UK for up to 14 days.
A number of overseas players, including Brazil stars Willian of Chelsea and Manchester City‘s Fernandinho, have spent time in their home countries during the pandemic — with the permission of their clubs — and many are still abroad.
But the Government’s plans to quarantine travellers for up to two weeks as part of the ‘second phase’ of their coronavirus response could hasten players’ return.
Stars such as Willian have returned to their home countries during the coronavirus crisis
Fernandinho has returned to Brazil as well, and will face a two week quarantine upon return
Sportsmail can reveal clubs have sent letters to players stating that they ‘should be available to resume activities within 48 hours. It will be their responsibility to ensure they can return within 48 hours of receiving notification to do so’.
In the EFL, players who have travelled abroad have been told to return to the UK by Saturday at the latest. Clubs are hopeful of returning to group training by the end of May.
They have made clear to their players that the Government have advised against all non-essential travel.
Certain clubs have included ‘returning to your own country’ as non-essential.
Meanwhile, news of how football may return is starting to trickle through to players, who have been briefed on proposals for them to quarantine in nominated hotels until fixtures are completed.
Wolves forward Diogo Jota believes it is important the Premier League season is completed
Clubs expect to be briefed by the Government this week ahead of Friday’s crucial meeting of all 20 clubs, which will try to establish a plan for the return of football.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told MPs last week he had ‘productive talks’ with British sporting governing bodies. A return to action is dependent on a number of targets being met on testing and social distancing.
Wolves forward Diogo Jota believes it is important for the Premier League season to be completed, regardless of decisions in other countries. ‘Although some leagues must end right away, others can start sooner,’ he said.
‘I know almost every country in the world has the Premier League as one of the leagues to watch, so it is major that we can finish the season.
‘Obviously health is first and when everything is ready to go we can finish the season.’
Brighton boss Graham Potter is uncomfortable with the idea of rushing back to action
However, Brighton boss Graham Potter urged caution, saying he is uncomfortable with the desire to resume while the pandemic is still hitting the country so hard.
Potter, whose parents have both died in the last year, insists football is not the priority.
‘We speak about football at the same time as close to 20,000 people are dying,’ Potter said.
‘In lots of cases, people aren’t even able to hold the hand of the person who’s passing away, which is heartbreaking.
‘I know from my own experiences that losing parents is hard enough. But to lose people to a virus when we could have done something about it…
‘This discussion about when to play football and being safe to do so is not the most important thing for us to consider.’