Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier was suspended after kick-off at the Corinthians Arena in São Paulo, Brazil. Argentinian soccer players were escorted off the pitch by Brazilian health officials.
The incident occurred after, Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa ruled that four Argentine players must isolate themselves and cannot participate in the match. The four Argentine players are Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur.
Reaction of Brazil and Argentina
A few moments later, the two coaches as well as Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi as well as some of Brazil’s players gathered to discuss what had happened.
Why did they start the game, only to stop it five minutes later? This is what Messi said in a TV interview. “We’ve been here at the stadium for an hour, they could have told us.”
After Messi returned to the dressing room, the match was officially called off at 5 p.m. local time, an hour after it began.
Ednaldo Rodrigues, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, called the scenes “indignant.”
His criticism was directed at the Brazilian health regulator, Anvisa, and he claimed officials told him the Argentines who violated the COVID-19 rules could have been deported after the game.
“I feel sorry for all the sports fans who wanted to watch the game on television,” he told Brazil’s Sportv. “With all due respect to Anvisa, they could have resolved this earlier and not waited for the game to start.”
A statement from the Argentine Football Association (FA) expressed its “discomfort” over the situation, adding that “football should not have to go through such incidents, which go against the sporting spirit of such an important competition.”
Reason Behind Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier suspension
According to Brazilian regulations, Visitors who have spent 14 days in the United Kingdom before entering Brazil must be quarantined for 14 days upon the arrival.
“Due to the decision of the game’s referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil-Argentina for the World Cup qualifiers is suspended,” CONMEBOL announced via Twitter.
They had been warned that the four had lied on their immigration forms. Anvisa confirmed on Sunday that the information given was “false.”
For this reason, Anvisa has asked the local authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are prohibited from participating in any activity and should not be allowed to remain on Brazilian soil,” Anvisa said in a statement on the matter.
But no action was taken, as the four players were allowed to travel with the Argentine team from the hotel to the stadium. Martinez, Lo Celso, and Romero were among the players who started the game.