Jürgen Klopp condemned the new quarantine rules for internationals returning from red zone countries and accused the Premier League of not “fighting for our players” in its negotiations with the government.
On Friday, the government confirmed that fully vaccinated players returning from red zone countries would be expected to stay in “bespoke quarantine facilities” for 10 days but could leave once a day to play or train.
Klopp has four Liverpool players due to visit the red zone countries this month – Brazilians Alisson and Fabinho, Greeks Kostas Tsimikas and Senegalese Sadio Mané – and is deeply unhappy with the arrangement.
“You can choose the hotel yourself, but the food must be delivered to your room door,” the manager said. “You are not authorized to receive visitors. If this is the solution, I don’t know where it comes from… It would mean for the players that they leave 10-12 days with their national teams, then that they leave another 10 days far from their families in quarantine . It’s been 22 days, then two weeks later there’s the next international break. It 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 international rows regarding the quarantine. With no exemptions, clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have refused to release their South American players. These 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, the need for specific players, but the Premier League has to fight for our players,” Klopp said. “This is not the situation now. “
Klopp claimed the regulations unfairly made players’ “responsibility” to decide whether they felt capable of going into international service and said there was no need for them to self-quarantine.
“The players are constantly in bubbles,” he said. “They’re here in a bubble, they’re on international service in a bubble, and I’m not sure why it’s different now than it used to be.
“What I really don’t like is that I don’t think it’s well thought out. It’s like someone in the government opens the door to an important office and says, ‘By the way, we still have to sort out the footballers’, and someone says,’ Why what’s wrong? not go home? “They say ‘they play 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 boys! 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 do nothing else. They come to training and go home. Now we have to put them in a hotel and deliver their food? It is not fair.
Players traveling must sign a code of conduct that includes restrictions on transportation and close contact and protocols on testing, vaccination and bubbles. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated would be forced to self-quarantine at hotels used by members of the public after entering from a red zone country.
A government spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with the football authorities to achieve a result that balances the interests of the club and the country while maintaining the highest levels of public health and safety.
“Our best defense against the virus is vaccination and these new measures will allow fully vaccinated players to perform their international duties in the safest and most convenient way possible, while allowing them to train and play with their clubs. as soon as possible upon their return. ”