Red-zone quarantine plan: Klopp tells Premier League to ‘fight for players’

‘Come on boys! We take people out of normal life for three weeks for no real reason’

Four Liverpool players are due to visit red zone countries this month – Brazil’s Alisson and Fabinho, Greece’s Kostas Tsimikas and Senegal’s Sadio Mané. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Four Liverpool players are due to visit red zone countries this month – Brazil’s Alisson and Fabinho, Greece’s Kostas Tsimikas and Senegal’s Sadio Mané. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

 

Jürgen Klopp has condemned the new quarantine rules for internationals returning from red zone countries and accused the Premier League of not “fighting for our players” during its negotiations with the British government.

On Friday the British government confirmed that fully vaccinated players returning from red zone countries would have to stay in “bespoke quarantine facilities” for 10 days but could leave once a day to play or train.

Klopp has four Liverpool players due to visit red zone countries this month – Brazil’s Alisson and Fabinho, Greece’s Kostas Tsimikas and Senegal’s Sadio Mané – and is deeply unhappy with the arrangement.

“You can choose the hotel yourself but food has to be delivered in front of your room door,” the manager said. “You are not allowed to have any visitors. If that’s the solution, I don’t know where it’s coming from. That would mean for the players that they go for 10-12 days with their national teams, then they go another 10 days away from their families into quarantine. That’s 22 days, and then two weeks later there’s the next international break. That doesn’t sound to me like a real solution.”

The rules were introduced in response to the events of the last international window when Premier League clubs were at the centre of international rows regarding quarantine. With no exemptions in place, clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea refused to release their South American players. Those clubs are again affected, as are others including Leeds, Aston Villa and Tottenham.

“I don’t expect the government to be 100 per cent concerned about the Premier League situation, about the need of specific players, but the Premier League has to fight for our players,” Klopp said. “That’s not the situation now.”

Klopp claimed the regulations unfairly made it the “responsibility” of players to decide whether they felt able to go on international duty and said there was no need for them to go into quarantine.

“The players are constantly in bubbles,” he said. “They are here in a bubble, they are on international duty in a bubble and I don’t know exactly why that is now different to what it was.

“What I really don’t like about it is that I don’t think it is properly thought through. It feels a little bit like somebody in the government opens the door in an important office and says, ‘By the way, we still have to sort the footballers’, and someone says, ‘Why what is wrong with them?’

“They say ‘they are playing in red-list and they don’t like the 10-day quarantine hotel’, so they just say ‘let them go in another hotel then’.

“No, no, come on boys! We take people out of normal life for three weeks for no real reason. We take care of our players. They are here, they live with their families, they don’t do anything else. They come to training and go home. Now we have to put them in a hotel and deliver their food? It’s just not right.”

Players who travel must sign a code of conduct which includes restrictions on transport and close contact and protocols on testing, vaccination and bubbles. Any who are not fully vaccinated would be obliged to quarantine in the hotels used by members of the public after entering from a red zone country.

A British government spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with football authorities to achieve an outcome that balances the interests of both club and country while maintaining the highest levels of public health and safety.

“Our best defence against the virus is vaccination and these new measures will allow fully vaccinated players to fulfil their international duties in the safest, most practical way possible, while allowing them to train and play with their clubs as early as possible upon their return.” - Guardian

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