Breakthrough for international football: throughout 2020, clubs will be able to legitimately say no to the request of the national teams to release their players even for official matches. This was decided by FIFA which, in light of the recent developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, approved and shared the protocol for international competitions on 2 October 2020 with the 211 national federations and the six confederations.

In particular, FIFA has approved a series of temporary changes to the Regulations on the status and transfer of players. They will apply to all international windows, both male and female, scheduled for the remainder of 2020. In making these decisions, FIFA has considered the role that the protocol will play in mitigating risks related to the pandemic and in obtaining from the authorities the necessary exceptions to the rules on international travel, in order to have the races run.

All matches must follow the rules of the FIFA protocol or an equivalent protocol approved by the local confederation. Specifically, clubs will be able to say no to the summoning of their own player if a quarantine or isolation period of at least five days is foreseen in the country of the club obliged to release the player or in the country where the national team will be engaged. Furthermore, they can say no even if there is a restriction on transfers between the two countries and an exception to this restriction is not guaranteed by local authorities.

We remind you that the possibility of not releasing the players applies only to competitions organized by FIFA, such as the qualifiers to Qatar 2022. Consequently, it will not affect the players involved in the Nations League, organized by UEFA and over which Zurich has no competence. In any case, it is a novelty that will be of interest to many Italian clubs: the qualifications of South America, in fact, will start on 8 and 9 October 2020. And our clubs could say no to the requests of the national teams concerned.

The document also provides for measures to protect the health of players and members in general, in order to allow a return to football around the world. Among these: monitoring of players, members and match officials; hand hygiene; social distancing; contact tracking. The protocol will be applied for the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, in which there will be a further novelty: the five substitutions will be introduced.

Published by Marco Perrotta

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