Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni wants clear player release rules for internationals

Fabinho and Roberto Firmino
Liverpool's Fabinho, Roberto Firmino (pictured) and Alisson are amongst the Brazil players who will miss the World Cup qualifier with Argentina

Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has called for "clear and inflexible" rules on the release of players for international duty.

Premier League clubs unanimously decided last week not to release players for World Cup qualifying and friendly matches in red-list countries.

This means Brazil will be without many key players when they face Argentina in a key World Cup qualifier in Sunday.

"If it continues then the competition is not equal," said Scaloni.

"We don't have any idea of what it is going to be like for the next games and that can't be [right].

"Beyond who it affects - Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Colombia - it can't go on like this.

"These games are being played because it was very tight and the decision was last minute but they need to take a decision for the next time. You can't compete like this.

"Now that we have time before the next dates there has to be a clear and inflexible position."

Brazil are without nine major players for the match in Sao Paulo, including Liverpool trio Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino and Manchester City pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus.

Other South American sides have also lost players due to a decision by some European clubs not to let their players travel to the continent in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They would have to quarantine on their return and the clubs do not want to lose their players for league games.

Argentina have four players from Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur in their squad for Sunday's match after the clubs ceded to their wishes, but there is confusion about their availability for the country's next game against Bolivia on Thursday.

Villa have said goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and midfielder Emiliano Buendia would return before the Bolivia match, but the Argentine FA denied there was any agreement to release them early.

Fifa recently extended the September and October international windows by two days in South America to enable countries to catch up on World Cup qualifiers postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Because of the time difference, players involved in those games may not return to the UK until Saturday, 11 September, when eight Premier League matches are scheduled to take place.

Brazil have won all seven of their qualifiers so far and lead the 10-team South American qualifying group by six points from Argentina.

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