WC qualifying chaos over quarantine row

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Four Argentina footballers are being investigated by Brazil federal police for allegedly providing false information upon arrival in Sao Paulo for a World Cup qualifying match.

The Brazil-Argentina qualifier on Sunday was interrupted after seven minutes when agents of Brazil's health agency, Anvisa, insisted they should take England-based players Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovanni Lo Celso, and Cristian Romero to the airport for breaching coronavirus protocols.

The match was abandoned without a score.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino, in a video address to the European Club Association's general assembly, said of the incident: "It is crazy but we need to deal with these challenges, these issues which come on top of the COVID crisis."

Anvisa said Argentina soccer officials knew since Saturday that the four players - three of whom were on the field - should not play because they were in the United Kingdom 14 days before their arrival, but did not inform authorities as required.

Visitors to Brazil from the UK must undergo a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

Brazil federal police confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday the four players received a notification to leave the country on Sunday night.

They flew with the rest of the Argentina squad to Buenos Aires shortly after.

Argentina tweeted on Monday that Martinez and Buendia were authorised to return to England so they could rejoin their club Aston Villa.

It did not discuss the situation for Tottenham's Lo Celso and Romero.

Anvisa director Alex Campos said Argentina "repeatedly ignored the agency's recommendations."

Brazil's soccer body, the CBF, later said in a statement it "followed its institutional role as host entity of the match by informing all those involved about the health legislation in place".

It also said it sought to "promote an understanding among the entities so health protocols could be complied with for the match to take place."

The AFA said in a statement that it followed all health protocols.

The squad arrived in Brazil on Friday morning from Caracas, where the team beat Venezuela 3-1 the night before.

FIFA has also started an investigation.

It said it has received official match reports and has passed them on to disciplinary bodies. No date for a decision has been offered, nor a date for a rematch.

FIFA added it "regrets the scenes preceding the suspension of the match."

There could be more problems for Lo Celso and Romero with Tottenham reported to be planning on fining them when they return.

Unlike Martinez and Buendia the pair had not been given permission to join up with Argentina.

with DPA

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting