Southampton to be without Shane Long after positive COVID-19 test

Southampton to be without Shane Long for West Ham clash after positive COVID-19 test as boss Ralph Hasenhuttl bemoans ‘problem to send players all over the world’ during international breaks

  • Shane Long tested positive ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Portugal
  • The striker is now self-isolating and will miss this weekend’s league game 
  • Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl called the international break a ‘problem’ 
  • FIFA banned Premier League clubs from playing their South American players who were blocked from international duty

Southampton will be without striker Shane Long for their home Premier League game with West Ham United after he tested positive for Covid-19, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed on Thursday.

Hasenhuttl, like his fellow top-flight managers, says the international breaks are complicated with players travelling back from far flung destinations.

Throw in the risks posed by Covid-19 and preparations for the return to league action are especially challenging.

Ralph Hasenhuttl (left) will be without Shane Long (right) after he tested positive for Covid

Long tested positive last week ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Portugal 

“We have a few players who have been travelling a lot. We will have everybody back today except (Shane) Long,” the Austrian said.


FIFA regulations state that, if enforced, a player can be ruled out five days after an international break should their clubs refuse to release them to play for their country.

The rule was designed to prevent clubs from tactically withdrawing their players in order to protect them for upcoming club matches immediately after the international fixtures. 

In full, the FIFA rulebook states: ‘A player who has been called up by his association for one of its representative teams is, unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe, plus an additional period of five days.’

“He is in self-isolation in the hotel because of a positive Covid test but the rest will arrive today and I will have a look.”

Long tested positive last week ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Portugal and was forced to self-isolate. 

FIFA invoked a ‘five-day’ restriction on 11 players from playing this weekend after failing to appear for their international sides. 

Several Premier League clubs could face sanctions if they play their south American players this weekend having not released them to play internationals in “red list” countries.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City were the hardest hit with Anfield Brazilian trio Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, champions City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva and Manchester United’s Fred all involved.

And Hasenhuttl has sympathy for the clubs that didn’t release their Brazilian players.

“It’s a problem to send players all over the world. We have a big problem preparing for the weekend because they are coming back on Thursday so we only have one day and a half,” he said.

“When you have to quarantine you must definitely block players from going somewhere because otherwise you lose them for a long time like the Brazilian and Argentinian players.

“You can imagine for a club what it means. Players want to play internationals for sure and also want to play for a club.”

Fabinho is among the 11 Premier League players banned from featuring this weekend

Thiago Silva will miss Chelsea’s next two matches due to ‘five-day restriction’ being imposed

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