Newcastle United await FIFA verdict as Paraguay escalate Miguel Almiron call-up row

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Paraguay are pushing for Miguel Almiron to miss Newcastle United’s visit to Old Trafford.

Almiron was blocked from reporting for international duty as the midfielder would have had to quarantine for 10 days on his return to England under the Government’s Covid-19 rules.

Newcastle took the decision with backing from the Premier League, which issued a statement last month outlining why players would not necessarily be released for fixtures in red list countries.

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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “Clubs have reluctantly, but rightly, come to the conclusion that it would be entirely unreasonable to release players under these new circumstances.”

Miguel Almiron.Miguel Almiron.
Miguel Almiron.

The move angered Paraguay, and Robert Harrison, president of the Paraguayan Football Association, has called for “sanctions” against the club.

"We are going to go to the end in the Miguel Almiron case," said Harrison. "We want a sanction for Newcastle for preventing the player from coming. We do not call him off as the other national teams did. FIFA must act. (Newcastle's decision) is based on arguments that are not valid to prevent the coming of the player."

FIFA could sanction Newcastle by forcing the midfielder to sit out Saturday’s game against Manchester United.

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Bruce addressed the situation before last weekend’s game against Southampton, which ended 2-2. United’s head coach felt that Almiron would lose fitness, and potentially sit out three club games, if he had to quarantine.

"The one thing you can’t do is let them go, come back and expect them to stay in a hotel for 10 days, because he (Almiron) will probably miss three games,” said Bruce.