Aston Villa could be without Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia for ‘huge swathes of the season’ if this month’s international break ‘farce’ repeats itself.
That’s according to Charlie Eccleshare and Gregg Evans, journalists for The Athletic.
Martinez and Buendia were caught up in dramatic scenes on Sunday night when Brazilian health officials stormed onto the pitch to halt the World Cup qualifying clash with Argentina, insisting that the English-based players were obliged to quarantine (via BBC Sport).
Argentina has subsequently released its Premier League contingent, and though the Villa duo will be sidelined for the trip to Chelsea this weekend, they should be available for the visit of Everton (via Birmingham Mail).
But it’s unclear how many more matches Martinez and Buendia will miss, with two more international breaks pencilled in before the end of the year and every country involved in South American qualifying currently on the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’. That status, of course, comes with quarantine requirements.
The Premier League is in discussions with the Football Association and FIFA in the hope of reaching a solution.
A quarantine exemption for elite athletes could resolve the issue, but governments in the UK and other nations have shown resistance to that idea.
You’d hope a compromise can be reached given that there aren’t really any winners in this messy situation. It’s a pretty bad look for all parties, especially in light of the scenes at the Corinthians Arena.
If not, Villa may be tempted to turn to the free agent market to sign a goalkeeper who will be a safe pair of hands in Martinez’s absence.
In other news, fans were delighted by this international development.
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