'We players are in the middle' - Liverpool's Fabinho lifts lid on dispute as doubt remains for Leeds United game

The Liverpool midfielder has opened up about the tug-of-war between club and country.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 11:35 am
Fabinho. Pic: Getty

Fabinho is still unsure whether he will be available for Sunday's match between Liverpool and Leeds United as the dispute over the international break rumbles on.

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Premier League teams unanimously decided not to release players due to represent their nations in red-list countries, since doing so would have required a 10-day quarantine on return in line with the UK government guidelines on travel.

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The disruption would have had a significant impact on the competition, with as many as 60 players missing out on fixtures and inevitably losing fitness during the mandatory hotel stay that would follow international duty.

Consequently Fabinho, along with his Brazil teammates Alisson, Roberto Firmino, and Leeds United's Raphinha - who missed out on his first call-up as a result of the Premier League ruling - all stayed in the UK for the duration of the international break.

Now FIFA are considering implementing a five day ban for the Premier League players who failed to report for international duty. As discussions continue without clear sight of resolution, Liverpool's Fabinho is conflicted, as he sees both sides of the argument.

“It’s a difficult situation, because we want to defend our country, we want to play for the Brazilian team,” Fabinho told ESPN Brasil, as translated by Sport Witness.“But I don’t think it’s just between the club and national team. It’s a government rule, I don’t think the English FA could change that, I think. I believe that FIFA would not be able to change either, neither Conmebol nor the CBF.

Fabinho in action for Brazil. Pic: Getty

“We players are in the middle of this kind of dispute, right, without much to do. Because it was a Premier League decision not to release us.

“And on the one hand, we even understand, because on the way back I would have to stay 10 days in a hotel. Maybe lose three games. And 10 days is enough for you to lose a game rhythm. So it’s hard.

“But we also understand the side of the national team, that the national team cannot have nine players. Nine players, that’s a lot of players.

“So we stay in the middle of this dispute hoping that there is really a solution.”

Fabinho. Pic: Getty

“I still don’t know if I’ll be able to play," Fabinho added. "There’s this punishment from FIFA. But if they are giving punishment, let them also bring us some solution, because we are waiting for this solution.”

“We want to go to Brazil, we want to defend the Brazilian team. And we really hope that there’s a solution so that we can go back and forth without any problems.”

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Raphinha. Pic: Getty