International duties are coming to an end, but surprise, surprise — people left club bubbles, traveled internationally and now there are more players testing positive for Covid-19.
I understand that we are heading directly toward the opening rounds of the Europa League ourselves, with a match against Rapid Wien at the end of the month, which is essentially international travel for players and teams. I’m not sure I love that either, but football is determined to live by the credo, the show must go on.
But the inconsistency in rulings seems a bit odd. As every Arsenal fan knows, Kieran Tierney is facing a period of isolation after his Scottish teammate Stuart Armstrong tested positive, despite Tierney’s distancing from him per social distancing guidelines and the fact that Tierney has tested negative in proceeding tests.
In addition to testing negative to Covid-19 following Armstrong’s results, Tierney showed antibodies to the disease itself, which opens up some interesting elements and likely suggests he had it himself at some point. Arteta opted not to comment on this matter out of respect for Tierney.
That aside, Tierney is slated to miss Arsenal’s matchup against Manchester City this weekend unless Arsenal’s appeals gain traction.
“This is getting very complicated when we are sending players abroad and obviously you lose control,” Arteta commented, “some authorities have different regulations to the actual ones in the Premier League. We are still having some discussions with the authorities and hopefully we will know more this afternoon.”
There lies some of the issue. Scotland, as a nation, are taking the spread of Covid-19 very seriously. Honestly, all nations probably should be taking it that seriously. But on the back of Christiano Ronaldo testing positive during his time with Portugal, we see that none of his teammates have tested positive and therefore none of them will have to go through a period of self-isolation.
Portugal appears to have less strict regulations — thank your lucky stars Wolverhampton — meaning those that tested negative after Ronaldo’s positive test don’t need to quarantine. Its very inconsistent, it’s very unusual feeling to me, and if Tierney is forced to miss, it will be a huge blow to Arteta’s tactics.
Arteta was asked about whether international play needs to stop.
“No. I think international football has to continue going because there are some competitions that have to happen. They were already delayed last summer and they have to take place because as well, those organisations have to be sustainable.”
“We all understand that. What are we asking is to try and unify those protocols and rules to try to create a safe environment for our players but as well to protect the clubs because obviously, the impact of having a few players out when we resume the Premier League is really difficult.”
And while I understand there are some competitions that may need to be played, I disagree that the friendlies qualify for that. We certainly agree on the aspect of unifying protocols to eliminate frustrations like these.
It’s not a done deal, it’s not over yet, but when asked about whether Tierney could play this weekend, Arteta simply responded, “I hope so”.
Me too, Mikel. Me too.