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Sports News of Thursday, 26 August 2021


Ayew and Amartey: FIFA Boss pleads over release of Ghana duo, others for World Cup qualifiers

Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is calling on the United Kingdom government to reconsider its stance on mandatory quarantine for international players from coronavirus red-listed countries, a directive that currently rules Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew and Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey out of Ghana’s upcoming World Cup qualifier against South Africa.

Brentford winger Tariqe Fosu will also be absent from the Black Stars trip to Johannesburg for the September 6 fixture under the standing guidelines.

Infantino’s appeal comes a day after the English Football Association announced Premier League clubs have “reluctantly but unanimously” agreed against releasing players for September’s round of internationals if they would be playing in red-list countries, including South Africa, owing to a 10-day mandatory quarantine requirement upon their return.

“On the issue of quarantine restrictions in England, for players returning from red-list countries, I have written to Prime Minister Boris 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,” Infantino said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I have suggested that an approach similar to that adopted by the UK government for the final stages of the Euro 2020 be implemented for the upcoming international matches.”

Ghana are billed to play as guests of South Africa three days after hosting Ethiopia on the opening matchday in Group G of the qualifiers.

Although Amartey, Ayew and Fosu, members of a 30-man Ghana squad announced for the double-header, will be barred from traveling to South Africa, they are still expected to join the Black Stars for the Ethiopia opener.

Chelsea left-back Abdul Rahman Baba is also a doubt for the South Africa clash but his reported imminent departure from England before the close of the summer transfer window on August 31 means he is unlikely to be affected by the UK rules.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey is also in the Black Stars 30-man squad, but a current ankle injury has rendered him likely to miss the September internationals.

The Premier League’s decision affects nearly 60 players from 19 clubs who are due to travel to 26 red-list countries.