CONMEBOL wants Fifa protection after virus postponements

Following the postponement of South America’s latest round of World Cup qualifiers due to coronavirus restrictions, CONMEBOL urged Fifa to defend its member federations.

This week’s CONMEBOL qualifiers were supposed to be two rounds, but the governing body cancelled them.

The cancellation was due to threats from many European clubs not to release their players for fear of being subjected to Covid-19 quarantine rules and therefore missing club games.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp had earlier threatened to stop players from travelling overseas for internationals if they were forced to quarantine upon their return.

“We’re asking president (Gianni) Infantino and Fifa to keep working eagerly to protect our associations and our football,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said during the federation’s annual congress in Paraguay.

“We’re the only confederation in the world that maintained its qualification format and it’s because we adhere to the motto of ‘clear rules’ and that’s why we understand matches must be decided on the field of play,” added Domínguez.

Infantino, the president of FIFA, who participated in the virtual meeting, said it would be difficult to find a solution to the competing interests of Europe and South America.

“We’re going to have to agree on the future international calendar in the next few months, in the next year, and here it’s clear that a continent with historical traditions such as South America will play an important role,” said Infantino.

“it’s the daily battle of a federation president, a confederation president and the Fifa president,” he continued.

The UK government’s red list of countries with stringent travel restrictions continues to include all ten South American countries.

Players from those countries who return to the UK are subject to a 10-day quarantine, meaning they could miss up to three club matches.

Travel restrictions are currently in place in other countries, such as France, which would affect returning footballers.

Another congress attendee, Aleksander Ceferin, the president of Uefa, the governing body of European football, expressed a desire to find a solution that was acceptable to everyone.

“The situation is still very difficult but the end of this pandemic is approaching,” he said.

“There is very good cooperation between Uefa and CONMEBOL. That’s why were united and why we know that we can emerge from this with the minimum possible wounds.”

The decision by CONMEBOL to postpone two rounds of qualifiers has caused a problem for the region in finishing its program in time for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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Brazil currently leads qualification after winning their first four matches, while Argentina is in second place after three wins and a draw.