Brazil vs Argentina Suspended
Photo: The Athletic

The World Cup qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina on Sunday, 5th September was suspended after local health officials walked onto the field. The match featuring Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar was interrupted in the 7th minute.

Brazil’s health agency, ANVISA said that three of Argentina’s England-based players should have been in quarantine. According to Brazilian Covid-19 regulations, any person who visited the UK, South Africa or India, can not enter the country. At first, they will have to take 14 days of quarantine. The Premier League players of Argentina were in the starting eleven without maintaining the quarantine procedure. These players are Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia and Tottenham’s Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero.

The match started very well. But the drama started at the 6th minute of the match. The cameras turned to the sidelines where the officials looked to be intervening. The health officials were seeking the UK-based players to leave the match as they didn’t comply with the 14-day quarantine.

After the incident, the referee sent the Argentine footballers to the dressing room to bring the situation under control. Several points have been discussed. But the fate of the match did not change. In the end, the Argentine Football Association officially announced the postponement of the match. Soon the Argentine players left the stadium. The Brazilian players stayed and continued a training session to entertain the fans.

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,” ANVISA said in a statement.

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After the end of the match, there was no solution even after repeated discussions. Neymar, Messi could not solve any. Eventually, the match was officially postponed. According to CONMEBOL’s anti-discipline clause, once the match has started, there can be no interruption. If there is any problem related to the player, it has to be resolved before the match. If the match is stopped due to the team, their opponent will get three points. Although everything depends on CONMEBOL’s decision.

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Due to the decision of the game’s referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup qualifiers is suspended,” CONMEBOL announced via Twitter.

CONMEBOL continued, “The referee and the match delegate will raise a report to FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee, which will determine the steps to follow. These proceedings will abide adhere to current regulations.”

Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the role of ANVISA, since the Messi-Neymar fight ended. Due to their controversial role, the Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier match in Sao Paulo was postponed.

Questions can be raised about why ANVISA didn’t alert the players two hours before the match, why they came and stopped the match after the start of the match. Although ANVISA commented, those four players gave false information. They also said that the players had come to play in Brazil without following the rules of quarantine. But according to football critics, if quarantine rules are to be broken, then why not look at the matter first.

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Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said none of the four players had been told before the match that they would not be able to play.

“It wasn’t the moment to do it, and it leaves us very sad,” Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni told TyC cameras. “If [ANVISA] people come in saying that they want to take [players] away and deport them, there’s no chance [that happens]. In no moment were we told we couldn’t play the game. The CONMEBOL delegate told us to go to the locker and that’s what I did … We’re the victims in the sense that we wanted to play. The Brazilian players wanted to play, too.”

The Argentine Football Federation also said that South American football authorities had already agreed on what would be the quarantine rules for players from different European countries before they could qualify for the World Cup in South America. The health department of all countries knew that!”

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We’re not talking about a lie or anything,” said the Argentine federation president Claudio Tapia, “because there are health rules under which FIFA qualifiers and all South American tournaments — Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana — are played and which all the health authorities of each country approved. It’s a protocol that is in effect and the 10 federations worked on together, and we’ve been complying with it.”

The date for the rearranged fixture has not been fixed. Argentina will play against Bolivia in the World Cup Qualifier on Friday, 10th September. While Brazil will compete against Peru on the same date.


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