Players urge Boris Johnson to change red list quarantine restrictions

The players affected by red list quarantine restrictions have signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the Government to cut the isolation period from 10 to five days.

Last week the Government agreed to a ‘bespoke exemption’ from the usual restrictions, which require individuals returning to the UK from countries deemed to be high risk in terms of coronavirus to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Under the exemption, fully vaccinated professional footballers were allowed to quarantine in a club-approved facility for 10 days instead, leaving only to train or play, but were not allowed to isolate at home.

Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Maheta Molango told the PA news agency on Wednesday that players were seeking to have the quarantine halved, and he has argued the players’ case to the Prime Minister.

Molango pointed out how the restrictions, combined with the regularity of football’s international breaks, will lead to players being away from their families for repeated, extended periods of time.

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The letter, countersigned by 44 Premier League, EFL and Women’s Super League players and seen by PA, argued that: “During a congested international calendar, this could lead to players being away from their families and loved ones for over 100 days before the end of 2022.”

Molango added that separation posed a “significant risk to their physical and mental well-being”.

It concluded: “Considering the ongoing contributions made by professional footballers, the restricted nature and controlled environment of both domestic and international teams, and the global visibility of the English leagues, we hope the Government can approve a five-day quarantine.”

Molango told the Leaders Week sports business conference on Wednesday: “The players are not machines at the disposal of the club to perform – those people have a family.

“While all of us were at home, they were working without a vaccine and exposing themselves to keep the enjoyment of fans going (during Project Restart). We should remember that.

“The players understand that they are not above the law. They understand that when you come from a red list country there needs to be quarantine. What they’re saying is ‘why a 10-day quarantine?’

“When they go from one bubble to another bubble, make it five days. They will be happy with that. I think it’s a unanimous opinion (among players) at the highest level, not just Premier League but also EFL and WSL.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp criticised the exemption last week, claiming the Premier League had not fought hard enough on the players’ behalf.

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