COVID and the international break: Which Leeds players are affected?

Everything you need to know about COVID travel restrictions during the international break.
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The Premier League will pause in September for players to represent their countries in the latest round of World Cup qualifying matches.

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Leeds United captain handed Scotland call-up ahead of international recess

On Tuesday the Premier League shared that a unanimous decision had been reached by all clubs that no players due to play in red-list countries would be released for international duty.

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Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha, Liam Cooper, Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Stuart Dallas, Rodrigo, and Hélder Costa have all had half an eye on the upcoming international fixtures. But which of them will be affected? Here’s what you need to know:

What do the government guidelines say about international travel?

Guidelines on the government website insist that “you should not travel to red list countries or territories”.

The red list rules demand ten days’ quarantine in a hotel upon arriving back in the UK and two tests before release, and they apply to everyone, even those who have been fully vaccinated, and those who break them could be in line for a £10,000 fine.

Hélder Costa in action against Aston Villa.Hélder Costa in action against Aston Villa.
Hélder Costa in action against Aston Villa.
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For those countries on the amber list, fully vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine but must take a test up to 48 hours after arriving back in the UK.

What have the Premier League decided?

Nearly 60 players from 19 clubs across the division are set to travel to red-list countries, which would count them out of two premier league matchdays and the EFL Cup third round.

The FA sought an exemption from the government but no agreement was reached.

Raphinha scores against Everton.Raphinha scores against Everton.
Raphinha scores against Everton.

As a result, the clubs have all agreed that no player scheduled to play in red-list countries will be released for international duty.

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"Quarantine requirements mean that players’ welfare and fitness will be significantly impacted," said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.

The Premier League remain "open to workable solutions", says Masters but, in similar talks with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport earlier this year, the British and Irish Lions were unsuccessful in their efforts to be granted an exception.

Which Leeds players are affected?

Stuart Dallas in action for Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier against Italy.Stuart Dallas in action for Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier against Italy.
Stuart Dallas in action for Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier against Italy.

Hélder Costa and Raphinha will not be permitted to leave for international duty, as appearing in their nation's fixtures would require 10 days' hotel quarantine on return.

Costa was invited to represent Angola, which is red-listed, as is Egypt, where the Angola squad will travel for their first fixture on September 2.

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Meanwhile, Raphinha’s impressive spell at Leeds earned him his first selection for Brazil.

“I'm very happy, I don't know how to measure so much happiness and pride in receiving this wonderful news,” the winger told Instagram. “I'm going to be making a child's dream come true.”

But Brazil and its three opponents in the qualifiers - Argentina, Chile and Peru - are all on the UK government’s red list, and so Raphinha will miss out on his first shot at representing his country.

Stuart Dallas, Tyler Roberts, and Liam Cooper all look to be safe from the disruption as they prepare to play in countries on the green and amber lists.

What does this mean for Leeds' Premier League campaign?

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With Ian Poveda now on loan at Blackburn Rovers, Raphinha and Costa's absences could have caused a huge problem for Leeds United who risked being left with a gap on the flanks, but instead the Whites will face Liverpool and Newcastle with a squad at full-strength.

The Reds' Brazilian trio - Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino - and Mohammed Salah have also been counted out of international duty by the decision and will be available for Liverpool's trip to Elland Road on September 12.

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