FIFA has, in light of the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, given clubs the greenlight to withhold players who would have been called for international duty.
Part of the official FIFA statement read:
In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April.
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The football governing board also recommended that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should be postponed until it is safe and secure to fulfil them.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football has since postponed the Women’s 2020 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were slated for the first week of April and Men’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that were scheduled to be played later this month.
The development comes when some countries are already restricting various international travels. The virus emerged in China in December last year but it has since spread into other countries and thousands of people have already died.