Fifa president Gianni Infantino has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to waive quarantine rules for footballers to resolve a stand-off between clubs and national teams.
Premier League clubs say they will refuse to let their players take part in World Cup qualifiers next month if the fixtures involve travel to countries on the Covid-19 red list.
Infantino said he had written to Johnson “and appealed for the necessary support, in particular, so players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries in qualifying matches for the Fifa World Cup, which is one of the ultimate honours for a professional footballer.”
The head of football’s world governing body added: “I have suggested that an approach similar to that adopted by the UK government for the final stages of Euro 2020 [where players did not need to isolate] be implemented for the upcoming international matches.”
Players affected include Liverpool and Egypt forward Mo Salah and Manchester City’s Brazilian stars Ederson and Gabriel Jesus.
Current UK quarantine rules require anyone returning from high-risk red-list countries to isolate for 10 days.
Clubs say this would lead to their players being unavailable for several matches, as well as affecting their welfare and fitness.
English Football League clubs have followed the Premier League’s stance, while Spain’s LaLiga says it will back any of its clubs that refuse to release players.
“The release of players in the upcoming international matches is a matter of great urgency and importance,” Infantino said.
“I am grateful for the support and cooperation from many stakeholders in the game during this challenging period.
“I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league and every club to do what is both right and fair for the global game.
“Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.”