Brazil vs Argentina World Cup qualifier SUSPENDED after health authorities storm pitch ‘to deport players who didn’t quarantine’

The World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina was suspended in remarkable circumstances amid a row over a set of Argentine players who local health authorities insisted should be in quarantine.

Argentine stars Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero apparently breached quarantine rules after arriving into Brazil for the fixture having been in England in the past two weeks. 

Three of the quartet were named in the Argentine starting XI which took to the pitch in Sao Paulo for Sunday’s game with Brazil. 

Amid bizarre scenes after the match kicked off, health officials were seen trying to enter the pitch as the action as was stopped.

Led by skipper Lionel Messi, Argentina then took to the dressing room.

Messi later emerged in discussion with Brazilian former Barcelona teammate Dani Alves as confusion reigned over whether the match would continue.

But after Messi walked off again, it appeared the match would be abandoned despite the Brazil team remaining on the pitch in full kit. 

Messi was seen discussing the situation with Brazil players and officials. © Reuters

While Emi Buendia had not been named in the Argentina squad for Sunday's game, his three fellow players from English Premier League clubs had been included in the starting team named by manager Lionel Scaloni.

Their very presence in the stadium posed a problem as the Brazilian health authority includes the UK on its Covid red list, meaning a mandatory period of 14 days’ quarantine for anyone who has been in Britain within the two weeks prior to their arrival. 

According to reports, Argentina’s Premier League players had only declared that they had been to Caracas, where they played their last World Cup qualifier against Venezuela, and had not mentioned they had been in Britain.

"Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil," said Brazilian health regulator Anvisa in a statement.

Questions have been raised as to why the players were allowed to travel freely to the stadium in the first place, then line up and start the match before the health authorities dramatically intervened. 

Two of the quarter of players in question – Buendia and Martinez – play at Aston Villa, while the other pair – Romero and Lo Celso – play their club football at Tottenham Hotspur.  


Post a Comment