Watford and Wolves Could Both Be Without Key Stars for Saturday’s Clash

The first international break of the season gives head coaches time to reevaluate their plans for the campaign and offers an opportunity for new signings to further settle into their new training regimes. However, not all players are able to train with their club, as each nation’s best players can be called up for international team duty. Usually, when given the international nod, the player departs to play for their country without hesitation. This time, it was not so simple. Now, both Watford and Wolves, ahead of their Saturday clash, could each be without a key player after disallowing specific stars from linking up with their international teams. 

Sierralta and Jimenez Could Be Banned By FIFA for Five Days

The Premier League announced that players would not be released to partake in international competition if it required them to travel to a nation in the United Kingdom’s COVID “red list.” Some players denied this statement and joined up with their teams regardless, including a handful of Argentine players who had a well-documented fiasco when playing against Brazil.

Watford and Wolves, however, ensured their “red-list” players did not travel as if they did, they would need to quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel for 10 days upon their return to the United Kingdom. Vaccination status does not change the rules for entering the United Kingdom from a “red-list” country. The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, tried to ask Boris Johnson for exemptions for footballers. Ultimately, no special treatment was granted.

As the “red-list” countries had to cope without some of their stars for World Cup qualification matches, they want to have restrictions imposed on teams that did not allow for their players to depart on international duty, regardless of what the Premier League said about not releasing players. 

Raul Jimenez’s Mexico and Francisco Sierralta’s Chile are two of the nations wanting for the punishments to be placed on the teams who refused to release players to set a precedent for the future. If either of these players were to play, if FIFA were to go ahead with the sanctions, then a failure to abide by the ruling would result in a 3-0 defeat to the team who played the restricted player.

The sanction would see players unable to appear for their respective clubs from September 10th to September 14th. For both Watford and Wolves, the only match this would affect is their fixture against each other.

The Wolves’ talisman and the Hornets’ star defender would likely put on an entertaining performance if able to line up against each other on Saturday. If only one team has their mentioned star available, that side would be at a tremendous advantage as their most-threatening counter would be out of action. If both are out of contention, then players further down both of the club’s depth charts will need to step up.

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