Argentina Footballers Accused of COVID-19 Violation; Match vs Brazil Suspended
4 Argentina footballers are under the scanner for allegedly breaking COVID-19 regulations in Brazil.
Barely minutes after kick-off, the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo had to be halted as health officials objected to the presence of some visiting players, who had broken quarantine rules.
Health officials walked on to the field of play around before the visiting team walked off around the 5-minute mark in the game.
The incident happened shortly after Brazil's health regulator, Anvisa, said four Argentine players must isolate and could not play in the match. The four players in question are Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur, all of whom play in the English Premier League. Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero all started the game in Sao Paulo.
As per Brazilian rules, visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
The incident prompted the Argentine players to walk off with Lionel Messi displeased at how the events had unfolded.
"Why did they start the game and stop it after five minutes?" Messi said. "We've been here at the stadium for an hour, they could have told us."
Argentina’s FA and coach Lionel Scaloni also echoed Messi’s opinion. "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," Scaloni told Argentine broadcaster TyC Sports.
"At no time were we notified that they couldn't play the match. We wanted to play the match, the Brazilian footballers too."
A date for the rearranged fixture is yet to be set with Argentina playing Bolivia on 10 September.
FIFA said it will "gather evidence from all sides to fully understand the events that led to the match suspension before it decides on the most appropriate course of action".
(with inputs from ESPN)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.