'Ridiculous' - TalkSPORT pundit blasts 'absurd' Leeds United debacle ahead of Sunday showdown vs Liverpool

TalkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan has accused the Brazilian FA and FIFA of acting ridiculously in their plans to prevent Leeds United winger Raphinha from playing against Liverpool on Sunday.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 10:17 am
Raphinha of Leeds United . (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The Whites were among a number of Premier League clubs, including this weekend’s opponents, who refused to release their players for international duty on the basis of Brazil playing in countries recognised on the UK’s red list.

Anybody travelling back from a nation on the list would be forced to self-isolate for a period, meaning that the likes of Raphinha would have been unavailable for selection on Sunday.

But in retaliation for having a number of their top talents withheld, the Brazilian FA have imposed a five-day FIFA ban on those involved. As a result, Raphinha could still miss Sunday’s game – alongside compatriots Alisson, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino – with both teams at risk of forfeiting the match if they insist on selecting any of those players.

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Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are also involved in the debacle, and while all five clubs and the Premier League seek a resolution to the issue, it is still unclear as to whether or not Raphinha will feature for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

Speaking about the saga on talkSPORT, former Crystal Palace chairman Jordan expressed his anger at the sitaution.

He said: "Are you going to let this federation and FIFA do what they’re doing?

"It is ridiculous to sanction clubs on the basis of players that would have to quarantine on their way back and have to quarantine on the way out.

“It’s absurd. If Leeds play a Brazilian player that they didn’t let go and Liverpool do it, that’s two players playing in the same game. Are you going to forfeit in favour of both sides, do both sides lose 3-0? It just brings the game into disrepute, they can’t do it, it’s ridiculous!”

The Premier League published a statement on August 24 confirming none of its footballers would be released to play in red list countries. An excerpt read: “Extensive discussions have taken place with both The FA and the Government to find a solution, but due to ongoing public health concerns relating to incoming travellers from red list countries, no exemption has been granted.

“If required to quarantine on return from red list countries, not only would players’ welfare and fitness be significantly impacted, but they would also be unavailable to prepare for and play in two Premier League match rounds, a UEFA club competition matchday and the third round of the EFL Cup.

“This period takes into consideration 10 days of hotel quarantine on return to England, but does not include any additional time that would be required for players to regain match fitness.”