Brazil vs Argentina FIFA World Cup Qualifier witnesses drama after health officials barge onto the pitch
Brazil took on Argentina in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier at home on Sunday night when health officials barged onto the pitch over the visitor's quarantine breach, leading to match suspension.
The FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina witnessed high drama on Sunday night at the Neo Química Arena in Sao Paolo. After five minutes of play, the game was suspended as health officials barged onto the ground regarding the breach of quarantine regulations for four Argentine players.
Television replays suggested that a few Brazilian health officials marched onto the pitch, leading to players from both sides gathering by the sideline, as things seemed chaotic, while the referee too tried to figure out the issue. Shortly after, the Argentine players left the ground, as the Brazilian players, along with the two managers and Argentine skipper Lionel Messi, discussed the stoppage with the health officials.
Later, CONMEBOL confirmed that the match had been suspended by the referee, while a disciplinary report would be submitted to FIFA. The same was approved by FIFA while gathering evidence from both sides to discuss further courses of action.
Meanwhile, Brazil's health agency president Anvisa stated that four Argentine players would be fined and deported for flouting the country's COVID quarantine regulations. It had also asked for immediate isolation for the four players just a few hours before the kick-off.
As per Sky Sports, the concerned four players happen to play in the Premier League. As per current Brazilian rules, visitors from the United Kingdom in the past 14 days have to be under mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Brazil.
While Anvisa refrained from naming the players, the four players in the Argentine squad from the EPL happen to be Aston Villa's Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez, and Tottenham Hotspur's Lo Celso and Cristian Romero. Barring Buendia, the other three happened to be in the starting XI on Sunday.
Later, Anvisa sent out a statement, clarifying the issue, as it wrote, "In the exercise of its legal mission, Anvisa has pursued, from the beginning, compliance with Brazilian legislation, which, in this case, was restricted to the segregation of the four players involved and the adoption of the corresponding sanitary measures. From the moment it became aware of the irregular situation of the players, on the same day of the delegation's arrival, the Agency communicated the fact to the Brazilian health authorities, through Cievs, the Center for Strategic Information on Health Surveillance."
"It should be clarified that the players entered Brazil at 8 am on Friday (3/9), providing false information. On the same day, Anvisa identified that the information was false and, still on the night of 3/9, notified the Cievs, updating the health authorities (Ministry of Health and Health Department of São Paulo)," it added.
"The decision to interrupt the game was never, in this case, within the Agency's competence. However, the selection of players who did not comply with Brazilian laws and the country's health regulations, and who still provided false information to the authorities, did indeed require the State Agency to act in a timely and manner, that is, in a timely and effective manner," it further clarified.
"There was an attempt to notify the players, who refused to sign the notification delivered by the authorities present at the stadium for immediate return to their country of origin, based on Interministerial Ordinance 655/2021 and art. 11 of Law 6.437/1977. The terms were delivered to the Federal Police for appropriate action," it concluded.
Meanwhile, the Argentine Football Association sent out a statement, declaring, "The Argentine Soccer Association expresses its deep discomfort at the suspension of the meeting between the Argentine National Team and the Brazilian National Team in São Paulo. Like the CBF, the AFA is surprised by the actions of Anvisa once the game has started. It should be noted that the Albiceleste Delegation was in Brazilian territory since September 3 at 8 am, complying with all current sanitary protocols regulated by Conmebol for the normal development of the Qualifiers heading to Qatar 2022."
"Following the report from the Conmebol officials and the match referee, the information will be forwarded to the competent FIFA body in accordance with current regulations. Football should not experience these kinds of episodes that undermine the sportsmanship of such an important competition," it concluded.
The suspension comes when the strict Brazilian rules have forced several sides from utilising top players for the Qualifiers. Even Brazil was without some top players after their EPL sides refused to release them due to quarantine regulations. The clubs don't want to lose out on their top players, especially with the European season beginning.
In the meantime, Villa stated that Martinez and Buendia were to return following the Brazil clash. However, the AFA clarified that they had agreed to stay for the next game against Bolivia.
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