Ben Brereton looks set to miss Rovers’ two games after the international break. Here is how we reached this point.



Ben Brereton pledged his allegiance to Chile and won five caps over the summer, all of them in the Copa America, having been an unused substitute in the two World Cup qualifiers leading up to the tournament.

With a winning goal against Bolivia he became something of a sensation in the south American country. Switching his number to 22 and wearing ‘Brereton Diaz’ on the back of his shirt upon his return to Rovers, and with a Pepsi sponsorship deal in the bag, he was riding the crest of a wave.

Brereton made clear his plans to continue playing for Chile and he was named in the squad for three matches in September, all World Cup qualifiers, against Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

The South American World Cup qualification is behind its usual schedule, given matches in March were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving nations playing catch-up, hence the international window being extended from nine days to 11.



The timing of the Chile matches would have seen Brereton meet up with the Chile national team on Monday, August 30 and not be back until Saturday, September 11, clashing with Rovers’ game with Luton Town.

The bigger issue was the fact that Chile, as well as Ecuador and Colombia where their final two matches are being played, are on the Government’s red list. That means anyone travelling back from those countries would be forced to quarantine for 10 days in a Government assigned hotel.

That would have left Brereton missing three matches upon his return, with Rovers facing Luton (September 11), Hull City (September 14) and Barnsley (September 18) immediately after the break.

In response, the Premier League, as well as counterparts in Italy and Spain, took a stance after meetings between all 20 clubs that players travelling to red list countries wouldn’t be released for matches, the EFL following suit 24 hours later.

In a bid to resolve the issue, FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson pushing for exemptions to be made for athletes that would have seen the countries downgraded to amber as was the case during the European Championships.

That would have at least allowed them to return to their clubs, rather than be in a quarantine hotel, but no such resolution was reached.



Teams would previously have been able to block call-ups for players because of red list concerns, but that position changed earlier in the year.

Under FIFA regulations for the status and transfer of players, annex 1 article 5: “The release of players under the terms of article 1 is mandatory for all international windows listed in the international match calendar.

“Clubs are obliged to release their registered players to the representative teams of the country for which the player is eligible to play on the basis of his nationality if they are called up by the association concerned. Any agreement between a player and a club to the contrary is prohibited.”

Talks have been held between some nations and English clubs that have seen certain players released for games not in red list countries as with Liverpool, Egypt and Mo Salah, or for two out of the three matches, as with Argentina, Aston Villa and Tottenham.

The first option wasn’t available to Rovers, with all Chile’s matches being played in red list countries, while the latter hasn’t materialised.

As a result, Chile, along with Mexico and Paraguay made contact with FIFA and asked them to intervene and enforce sanctions.



Now that FIFA have been contacted by the Chilean football association they are left with no choice but to enforce the rules in place, and as per those rules, it would be a five-day suspension for Brereton once the international break is completed.

FIFA 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.”

That would see him ruled out of matches with Luton and Hull City, but unlike had he travelled, he would at least be available for the trip to Barnsley on September 18.

It is understood FIFA have contacted Rovers about the expected sanction.



The quickest resolution would be for Rovers to release Brereton for international duty, but that appears extremely unlikely due to the current timings and quarantine issue.

Another would be for Rovers and Chile to come to an agreement in which both parties agreed and would see the withdrawal of the complaint to FIFA.

For example, Uruguay agreed to Manchester United not releasing Edinson Cavani, and as a result no action will be taken.

As things stand, only Paraguay and Mexico have followed Chile in making such a stance, with Brazil yet to make a complaint, and as such, only a small number of English clubs would face sanctions.

There is the possibility of Rovers contacting the EFL in a bid to try and find a resolution, but that is unclear at this time.



Should the sanction stand, and Brereton played in either of the two matches then he would be deemed as an ineligible player, affecting the status of the match and leading to possible further punishment.   



This issue is unlikely to go away, not least while Chile remains on the Government’s red list.

They have three more qualifiers in October and November, and five more matches in 2022.

However, two of those, on January 27 and February 2, don’t fall within FIFA’s international window, so the same sanctions couldn’t be applied.

As for the here and now, with no force majeure policy in the FIFA regulations, unless the situation changes, Rovers look set to be without their leading scorer for the two games immediately after the break. He will however, be able to train with the club.