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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith ‘bewildered’ by Douglas Luiz quarantine ruling

Dean Smith expressed “bewilderment” at rules which forced Douglas Luiz into a 10-day quarantine following the Villa midfielder’s return from international duty last night.

Brentford's Saman Ghoddos (left) and Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz (right)
Brentford's Saman Ghoddos (left) and Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz (right)

Argentina’s removal from the UK government’s red-list earlier this week means goalkeeper Emi Martinez, who also arrived back in Birmingham yesterday evening, has not been subjected to any restrictions.

But the same does not apply for Luiz after Brazil played a World Cup qualifier in Colombia, which remains on the UK watchlist, on Sunday. Though Brazil was itself taken off the red-list earlier this week, Luiz and his international team-mates have been informed they must quarantine for the full 10-day period, though they will be able to train and play matches.

Smith said: “They have my sympathy. Because they played in Colombia five days ago, you would think they would land in the UK and do five days’ quarantine.

“But due to somebody’s thinking they now have to do 10 days. It bewilders me.

“Even though they have been doubled jabbed and aren’t coming back from a red-list country, the five days they have spent in Brazil mean nothing.

“I feel for all the Brazilian players. They will have had a 15-day quarantine, so to speak. It is something I think is really tough and could be looked at in the next couple of days, I would have thought.”

Luiz, who played the final 20 minutes of Brazil’s 4-1 win over Uruguay in the early hours of yesterday morning, will be allowed to train and play and is in Villa’s squad for today’s derby against Wolves.

So too is Martinez, who played in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Peru just 36 hours prior to this afternoon’s kick-off. Both players returned to the UK by private jet.

Smith said: “We have always had to deal with international periods. But it has been unprecedented that Fifa allowed the South American World Cup qualifiers to be played within 48 hours of the Premier League.

“For me it makes it a little bit farcical. I appreciate they have to get the games in but surely they could do it before.

“That has been the hardest thing for any club. We are hopeful they have come back in good stead and are ready to play.”

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