LONDON (AFP) - South American World Cup qualifying has been “tarnished” by the refusal of top English Premier League clubs to release star players over coronavirus quarantine rules, says Uruguay veteran Diego Godin.
Already shorn of the injured Luis Suarez, the two-time world champions will have to make do without their other attacking icon, Edinson Cavani of Manchester United.
The Premier League giants, alongside the likes of champions Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have refused to let a host of players join their national teams because they are due to play matches in red list countries, meaning they would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to England.
That would force them to miss two league games as well as a Champions League fixture.
In a classic club versus country clash, it is national teams that have lost out, most notably Brazil who must make do without nine players originally called up by coach Tite.
“All I will say is the truth that the competition has been tarnished by what happened,” Godin told reporters upon his arrival in Uruguay from his Italian club Cagliari.
It is a tough blow for Uruguay in a razor tight qualification race that sees eight teams from third-placed Ecuador to rock-bottom Peru separated by just five points.
Uruguay travel to Peru on Thursday before hosting Bolivia and Ecuador