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Afcon 2021Q: Swansea boss fears losing ‘important’ to quarantine Ayew if called to Black Stars

Swansea City manager Steve Cooper admits he is concerned about the prospect of releasing key man and Ghana captain Andre Ayew to the Black Stars this month due to the UK’s quarantine regulations.

Cooper expects the powers-that-be in football to come up with a solution to solve the problem of clubs potentially losing players to required quarantine after the international break due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Unless he receives an excuse from duty, in-form Ayew is expected to head to the Ghana camp after Swansea’s league clash with Cardiff City on March 20.

Concerns have been raised regarding players who will play international football outside of Europe given the strict quarantine measures that have been introduced by the Government.

The Black Stars have matches against South Africa – a country currently on the UK’s quarantine list – and São Tomé and Príncipe on March 25 and March 28 respectively.

Given the recently imposed regulations on UK residents returning from countries with high rates or new strains of COVID-19, it could mean Ayew would be forced to quarantine after what will be the first international break of 2021.

It remains to be seen whether or not exemptions will be made for professional footballers as has been the case in previous situations where club testing has proven sufficient.

Should Ayew be forced to quarantine in line with current rules, it is expected he would miss the Swans’ Championship matches against Birmingham City and Preston North End in April.

Depending on when his quarantine period started, he could potentially also be unavailable for the trip to Millwall on Saturday, April 10.

And Cooper has stated the Swans are awaiting clarification regarding the situation surrounding their international stars.

“There’s been some stuff written about some Premier League players. I’m not too sure exactly how that’s going to look,” he said.

“We haven’t even had a call-up for Andre yet to say that he’s going. I imagine we would with him being the captain of Ghana.

“But what the stance is going to be on that throughout football, I’m not too sure. But I know there are some decisions to be made going forward. We’ve got four games to play first before that, but I know that’s coming.

“There have been games moved in the Champions League I would imagine for COVID restrictions.

“I haven’t given it much thought but I don’t think this situation is not just going to be about Andre and Swansea, I think there’s going to be a whole host of players that represent countries outside of Europe and with the travel restrictions that are going to be in a similar boat, so I imagine football will take a bit of a lead on it and we can make a decision from there.”

Under FIFA rules, clubs are allowed to prevent their players from heading away on international duty in the event that they would be returning from countries where there is a quarantine period of at least five days on their return.

However, this would come with significant risk – particularly in the case of a player like Ayew who is his country’s talisman while the attacker himself always relishes the opportunity to deliver the goods on the international stage.

Ayew’s importance to Swansea’s promotion push has been fully emphasized of late, with the 31-year-old netting four times in his last three matches.

He has bagged a total of 13 goals in his 32 Championship outings for the Swans this term.



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