Updated: September 6, 2021 3:26:19 pm
The World Cup qualifier between Latin America powerhouses Brazil and Argentina was suspended on Sunday night as the Brazilian Health Authorities stormed onto the pitch to detain Argentina players Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero, both from Tottenham Hotspur, for allegedly breaking Covid-19 protocols. A fourth player, Emiliano Buendia of Aston Villa, was not included in the squad.
Earlier, the four Argentine players from the English Premier League were ordered to quarantine by Brazil’s health agency ahead of the match between the South American rivals.
🚨⚽️ | NEW: Footage shows Brazilian officials entering the pitch during the Brazil vs Argentina game to allegedly detain 4 Argentinian players who had entered the country from England pic.twitter.com/3X0PkNghmN
— Football For All (@FootballlForAll) September 5, 2021
Martinez, Buendia, Lo Celso and Romero, came to play for Argentina despite the Premier League not wanting players to be released for international duty due to the need to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel on their return.
The four players were still seen getting on the Argentina team bus ahead of the game. Brazil’s health agency had also instructed the four players to return to the “country of origin” without giving more details.
Former Barcelona teammates – #Messi , #Neymar and #DaniAlves in an animated discussion as #Brazil vs #Argentina is stopped. #brazilvsargentina #Bra #ARG #BRAvsArg #FIFAWCQ2022 pic.twitter.com/FmoQ0RNyCT
— Rahul ® (@RahulSadhu009) September 5, 2021
Now they have been caught up in Brazilian quarantine restrictions.
If Argentina & players didn’t follow required Brazilian health protocols then FIFA has to award the forfeit victory to Brazil.
Por decisión del árbitro del partido, el encuentro organizado por FIFA entre Brasil y Argentina por las Eliminatorias para la Copa del Mundo queda suspendido.
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) September 5, 2021
Above is the official statement from the Conmebol- which reads as follows: “By decision of the match referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup Qualifiers is suspended.”
Antonio Barra Torres, the president of Brazil’s health agency, Anvisa, said four Argentina players will be fined and deported for allegedly not following Brazil’s COVID-19 protocols.
Brazil’s health agency said all four allegedly told immigration officers they hadn’t in the last 14 days been to the United Kingdom or anywhere else that Brazil puts on its own red list for COVID-19 risks. Those who have face a 14-day quarantine in Brazil.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said he and his players were sad by the turn of events, and that both teams would have liked to play the game. He and his squad are yet to leave the stadium more than two hours after the match was first interrupted.
“A match between some of the best in the world ends like this. I would like people in Argentina to understand that as a coach I have to take care of my players. If people come and say they have to deport them, I will not allow,” Scaloni told channel TyC Sports. “We wanted to play the match, so did the Brazilians.” Brazil’s soccer confederation interim president Ednaldo Rodrigues said he found the decision of the health agency to be “strange.” “At no moment was the Brazilian soccer confederation in favor of this,” he told TV Globo.
(With AP inputs)
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