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Argentina select three Premier League players for World Cup qualifiers

Argentina have selected three Premier League players for October’s World Cup qualifiers despite the country remaining on the UK’s travel red list.

Last month, most English clubs refused to release players called up by South American countries for qualifiers.

Since Friday, Argentine nationals do not need to quarantine after arrival in the country from overseas, if they are vaccinated and test negative for Covid.

But anyone arriving in the UK from Argentina must quarantine for 10 days.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and Tottenham’s Giovani lo Celso and Cristian Romero have been named in Argentina’s 30-man squad for their games with Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru from 8-15 October.

Villa and Tottenham both have Premier League fixtures on the weekend of 16-17 October.

In August, the Premier League released a statement saying its clubs had “reluctantly but unanimously” decided not to release players for matches in red-list countries during September’s international break.

But Villa said Martinez and compatriot Emiliano Buendia would join up with their national side, while Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo accepted the club “cannot stop” Lo Celso and Romero travelling too, knowing they would be unavailable for one Premier League game on their return.

It led to farcical scenes at the Brazil v Argentina World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo as the game was abandoned after five minutes when Brazilian health officials came on to the pitch to stop the match, saying Argentina’s four England-based players had to quarantine.

They returned via Croatia to avoid having to quarantine when arriving back in the UK.

World governing body Fifa has the power to enforce five-day suspensions for players not released to play for their national sides.

Argentina are six points behind Brazil at the top of the South American qualifying group for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with five wins from eight games.

Source : BBC Sport

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