Portugal to move qualifier to avoid quarantine for Bruno et al

Date published: Thursday 4th March 2021 2:41 - Will Ford

Portugal are reportedly set to move their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan to Italy to ensure their Premier League stars will be available.

The likes of Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva were set to spend a lengthy spell quarantining after their international commitments due to Portugal’s place on the UK’s ‘red list’.

The clash against Azerbaijan – orginally set to take place in Lisbon on March 24 – will now be held in Turin, where the squad will also prepare for matches in Serbia and Luxembourg, according to the Daily Mail.

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It should mean all of the Premier League-based Portuguese players should be able to feature if fit, including five Wolves players.

And Nuno Espirito Santo has demanded greater clarity from the Premier League and Government on the matter.

He said: “Now we are facing international breaks with all the circumstances around the world. Travel corridors are closed, there are restrictions on freedom and mobility, and yet players are going to play three qualifiers in different countries.

“I will never discourage players from travelling. All our players who play international football must be proud as it is a high point in their careers. But we have two more games to play before the break and what we expect is direction from the Premier League and the Government, telling managers which players we can use when they return and how the competition is going to be.

“Some clubs will have nearly all their players going to national teams, others will not have as many. There are national teams who will hold their training camps outside their own countries.

“Imagine the confusion – players travelling all over the world, joining different teams, some unable to train in their own countries. The mistakes are continuing. Take it all together and you see the mess it has created.”

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