A World Cup qualifier match between Argentina and Brazil was abandoned in the midst of bizarre scenes at the Neo Quimica Arena in Brazil. Four Premier League players violated health regulations as the authorities accused four players of providing false information and breaching Covid-19 protocols.
A FIFA World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Brazil was suspended amid shocking scenes on Sunday as Brazilian health officials accused a number of Premier League players of violating the nation’s Covid-19 rules. Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and Tottenham pair Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso started the match for Argentina when Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa invaded the pitch and stopped the game just five minutes after kickoff.
The trio along with Aston Villa’s Emiliano Buendia who was watching the game from the stands had breached Brazilian regulations which state that travellers who have been in the UK, South Africa, or India during the previous 14 days are forbidden from entering the country unless they are Brazilian citizens or have permanent residency.
In a statement issued before kick-off, Anvisa had revealed that it had received reports that four Argentina players who had flown into Brazil from Venezuela on Friday, had provided ‘false information’ on their pre-flight health declarations.
For reasons unknown, Martinez, Romero, and Lo Celso were all on the pitch before proceedings were brought to a screeching halt. Argentina’s manager Lionel Scaloni claimed, to the press after the match, that at no moment were they informed that the game could not be played.
“It makes me so sad, I am not looking for guilty parties, whatever happened or didn’t happen, this wasn’t the time to do it. We wanted to enjoy a game between the best in the world and it ends up like this,” Scaloni told TyC Sports.
“As a coach I am going to defend my players. If people come and say we want to take this guy or deport this guy there was no chance of that, Because at no time were we told we couldn’t play the game,” he added.
“The referee and the match official will take a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and they will decide what steps to take,” said the statement issued by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).