Jürgen Klopp has condemned the new quarantine rules for internationals returning from red zone countries and accused the Premier league not to “fight for our players” during their negotiations with the government.
On Friday the government confirmed that fully vaccinated players returning from red zone countries would have to stay in “custom quarantine facilities” for 10 days, but could go out once a day to play or train.
Klopp has four Liverpool players visiting red zone countries this month – Alisson and Fabinho from Brazil, Kostas Tsimikas from Greece and Sadio Mané from Senegal – and he is deeply unhappy with the deal.
“You can choose the hotel yourself, but the food must be delivered in front of your room door,” said the manager. “Visitors are not allowed. If that’s the solution, I don’t know where it comes from … That would mean for the players who go for 10-12 days with their national teams, then go another 10 days away from their families and quarantine them. That’s 22 days, and then two weeks later, there’s the next international break. That doesn’t seem like a real solution to me. “
The rules were introduced in response to the events of the last international window when Premier League clubs were at the center of the international ranks 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 hit again, as are others, including Leeds, Aston Villa and Tottenham.
“I don’t expect the government to be 100% concerned about the situation in the Premier League, about the need for specific players, but the Premier League has to fight for our players,” Klopp said. “That is not the situation now.”
Klopp claimed that the regulations unfairly laid down the “responsibility” of players to decide whether they felt capable of fulfilling international duty and said it was not necessary for them to quarantine.
“Players are constantly in bubbles,” he said. “They are here in a bubble, they are in international service in a bubble and I don’t know exactly why that is different now than it was.
“What I really don’t like about this is that I don’t think it’s well thought out. It feels a bit like someone in the government opens the door in an important office and says, ‘By the way, we still have to rank footballers,’ and someone says, ‘Why is this happening to them?’ “They say ‘they’re playing on the red list and they don’t like the 10-day quarantine hotel,’ so they just say ‘let them go to another hotel then.’
“No no, come on guys! 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 train and go home. Now we have to put them in a hotel and deliver the food? It’s just not right. “
Players traveling must sign a code of conduct that includes transport and close contact restrictions and protocols on testing, vaccination and bubbles. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated would be required to quarantine themselves in hotels used by the public after entering from a red zone country.
A government spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with the soccer authorities to achieve a result that balances the interests of both the club and the country while maintaining the highest standards of public health and safety.
“Our best defense against the virus is vaccination and these new measures will allow fully vaccinated players to fulfill their international duties in the safest and most practical way possible, while also allowing them to train and play for their clubs as soon as possible at their time. Return. “