Due to health concerns, the scheduled big game between Brazil and Argentina in the CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup qualifiers was called off on Sunday. Authorities from Brazil stormed onto the pitch to detain four Argentinian players minutes after kick-off. Those footballers are accused of breaching Covid-19 protocols by Anvisa for the English Premier League players. The travelers staying in the UK for 14 days are forbidden to enter the country unless they are Brazilian citizens or have permanent residency.
The health authorities claim that Brazil Aston Villa pair Emiliano Martinez & Emiliano Buendia and Tottenham Hotspur duo Christian Romero & Giovanni Lo Celso reportedly ignored the mandatory quarantine rules. Three players, instead of Buendia, were on the pitch when the game was halted due to the pitch invasion. Brazil’s health agency, Anvisa, instructed the Argentina squad to place these four players into ‘immediate quarantine’ and ‘prevent them from remaining in Brazilian territory. Anvisa said that they received false information from the four players in question on their pre-health declaration.
CONMEBOL suspends the game
The handling of the situation has angered the likes of Lionel Schaloni, Argentina’s manager, and Lionel Messi amongst the rest. Schaloni claimed his squad didn’t receive any prior information that they cannot play the match. Messi later hit out at the intervention made by the officials during a game without any warnings. “We’ve been here for three days. So why are you doing this now? ” he said on TYC Network as reported by Sports News International.
Argentina FA got involved in the matter too. President Claudio Tapia said the federation had followed the protocols of FIFA, and the players have not lied about their entry records. The squad is expected to fly back to Buenos Aires later in the day on a charter flight. However, the health agency has stood firm on its claims of halting the game in performing the required measures of a protocol breach.
“We got to this point because everything that ANVISA directed, from the first moment, was not fulfilled,” health agency director Antonio Barra Torress said. He added, “the four players directed to remain isolated did not comply. They went to the stadium and entered the field in a series of breaches.” Due to the chaos it caused, CONMEBOL suspended the game, addressing the following steps only after the match commissioner submits a report to FIFA. Till now, the future of the match is up in the air. The controversy comes after Premier League clubs objected to releasing their Brazilian players due to the protocols while Argentinians did.