The travel ban on countries from South America and Portugal does not currently include an exemption for elite sportsmen and women, the Department for Transport confirmed to Sky Sports News.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday that, from 4am on Friday, entry to the UK from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela will be prohibited due to concerns over a new Covid-19 variant in Brazil.
Portugal has also been included on the list due to its strong connections to the country, and the department has said that, as things stand, no elite sportspeople who have been in those countries in the last 10 days will be allowed into the UK from Friday morning.
It will have an impact on the ongoing transfer window, with the South American market having become more accessible to UK clubs under the new work permit system introduced after Brexit.
I’ve taken the urgent decision to BAN ARRIVALS from ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, BOLIVIA, CAPE VERDE, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, FRENCH GUIANA, GUYANA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SURINAME, URUGUAY AND VENEZUELA – from TOMORROW, 15 JAN at 4AM following evidence of a new variant in Brazil. 1/3
Brighton have been working on a deal to sign Moises Caicedo from Ecuadorian team Independiente del Valle, while other players, such as Chile star Carlos Palacios of Espanola, have been hoping to secure a move into the UK this month.
The only travel exemptions from these countries are for British or Irish nationals, or third-country nationals with residence rights in the UK, and they will have to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.
The official announcement from the department states: “Any exemptions usually in place – including for those related to employment – will not apply, although hauliers who have been in or transited through Portugal (only) in the last 10 days will be exempt to allow transport of essential goods.”
Bernstein urges Culture Sec to prioritise English football reform
Former FA chairman David Bernstein has written a letter to Oliver Dowden urging the Culture Secretary to put reforming football’s governance structure in England at the top of his agenda.
In October, Bernstein was part of an eight-person group which signed a ‘Manifesto for Change’, which called for a new regulatory body that is independent of football’s current structure in England.
Gary Neville, ex-FA executive director David Davies and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham were among the names who joined Bernstein in signing the manifesto, and in the letter sent to Dowden on Thursday, Bernstein reiterated his desire to see a reform when stating “the governance of our national sport remains a shambles”.
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He added: “English football’s failure to speak with one voice over the past months of the Covid-19 crisis have only highlighted a dysfunctional and damaging structure.
“There is no overall leadership and therefore vested interests continue to prevail. The financial disparity between rich and poor has frankly become obscene. The game is devoid of agreed priorities.”
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