The World Cup Qualifier between Brazil and Argentina on Sunday evening was suspended after Brazilian well being officers entered the pitch in a row over Covid guidelines.
The officers marched onto the sphere shortly after kick-off and confronted the Argentina gamers, who left the sphere whereas the 2 managers – together with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazil’s gamers – gathered to debate the stoppage.
The South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL later confirmed the sport – which was 0-0 when it was stopped – had been referred to as off by the referee, who they mentioned would submit a disciplinary report back to FIFA.
A FIFA spokesperson mentioned: “FIFA regrets the scenes previous the suspension of the match between Brazil and Argentina for the CONMEBOL qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup 2022 which prevented thousands and thousands of followers from having fun with a match between two of an important soccer nations on the earth.
“The primary match official stories have been despatched to FIFA. This info shall be analysed by the competent disciplinary our bodies and a choice shall be taken in the end.”
Antonio Barra Torres, the president of Brazil’s well being company Anvisa, mentioned 4 Argentina gamers shall be fined and deported for allegedly not following the nation’s Covid protocols.
How Brazil vs Argentina abandonment unfolded
– 6pm: Brazil’s well being regulator Anvisa seeks the fast isolation of 4 Argentina gamers simply hours earlier than they’re resulting from face Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo.
– 8pm: Brazil vs Argentina kicks-off as deliberate.
– 8:06pm: Play is halted as well being officers stroll onto the pitch to seemingly attempt to take away Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham from the pitch.
– 8:11pm: The sport is suspended as Argentina gamers head again to the dressing room.
– 8:18pm: Lionel Messi seems to attempt to negotiate with the authorities however his team-mates stay within the dressing room.
– 8.40pm: Experiences counsel a bus is en path to escort the Argentina crew away from the stadium.
– 8:50pm: The sport is deserted.
What have been the Covid protocols and have been they damaged?
Below Brazilian guidelines, guests who’ve been within the UK within the 14 days earlier than coming into the nation should quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Though Anvisa didn’t title the 4, the gamers with Premier League golf equipment are Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham.
Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero have been named in Argentina’s beginning line-up, whereas Buendia didn’t make the squad.
On Monday, the Argentina nationwide aspect’s Twitter account posted an image of a number of members of the squad on a airplane with the caption: “We’re going dwelling!”.
However Anvisa had sought the fast isolation of the 4 gamers simply hours earlier than the sport in Sao Paulo.
“Anvisa considers the state of affairs a critical well being threat and so has requested native well being authorities to find out the fast quarantine of the gamers, who’re stopped from collaborating in any exercise and must be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil,” Anvisa mentioned in an announcement forward of kick-off.
The Argentine squad flew into Brazil on Friday, the day after beating Venezuela 3-1 in a World Cup Qualifier in Caracas.
Anvisa have been tipped off the 4 gamers didn’t state that they had been within the UK inside the final two weeks on their immigration types. The well being regulator confirmed the main points the gamers gave have been “false”.
The Argentine Soccer Affiliation (AFA) expressed its “deep discomfort” on the suspension of the match.
It mentioned the crew had been in Brazil since September 3 and had complied with all of the well being protocols.
“Soccer shouldn’t expertise these sorts of episodes that undermine the sportsmanship of such an vital competitors,” the AFA mentioned in an announcement.
The Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF) mentioned it “deeply regrets” the occasions that ended up inflicting the suspension and insisted Anvisa “might have exercised its exercise in a way more acceptable method within the numerous moments and days previous to the match”.
It added: “The CBF additionally emphasizes that at no time, by the interim president, Ednaldo Rodrigues, or its administrators, interfered in any level associated to the sanitary protocol established by the Brazilian authorities for the entry of individuals into the nation.
“The function of the CBF was all the time in an try to advertise understanding between the entities concerned in order that the sanitary protocols may very well be fulfilled satisfactorily and the sport may very well be performed.”
Argentina boss defends gamers
Argentina supervisor Lionel Scaloni insisted his aspect weren’t knowledgeable they may not take the sphere, telling reporters after the sport: “I’ve come right here in order that our nation can discover out what’s occurred. It makes me very unhappy.
“I am not trying to discover any responsible events. Whether or not one thing occurred or not, it wasn’t the appropriate time for that intervention.
“It ought to’ve been a footballing spectacle for everybody to take pleasure in the perfect gamers on the earth. I would just like the Argentine folks to grasp that because the nationwide crew coach, I’ve to defend my gamers.
“At no level have been we notified that they could not play. We wished to play the sport, as did the Brazil gamers.”
Argentine FA president Claudio Tapia added his gamers had not lied about being within the UK earlier than coming into Brazil, saying: “There cannot be any speak of lies right here as a result of there’s well being laws underneath which all South American competitions are performed.
“Well being authorities in each nation accepted a protocol that we’ve been totally compliant with.
“What’s occurred right now is horrible for soccer and sends out a really unhealthy picture. 4 folks interrupted the sport to tell us of one thing and CONMEBOL requested the gamers to go to the dressing room.”
Anger in South America after chaos
The suspension of the match comes amid persevering with anger in South America at guidelines which have prevented a number of groups from utilizing key gamers for this month’s three World Cup qualifiers.
Brazil have been with out 9 key males for the Argentina sport, and different South American sides have additionally misplaced gamers resulting from a choice by some European golf equipment to not let their gamers journey to the continent.
They must quarantine on return and the golf equipment don’t need to lose their gamers for subsequent league video games.
Aston Villa mentioned Martinez and Buendia had agreed to return to the membership after the Brazil sport and miss Argentina’s match in opposition to Bolivia on Tuesday. The Argentine Soccer Affiliation, nonetheless, mentioned they’d play all three video games.
Brazil and Argentina now await FIFA’s subsequent transfer after a unprecedented evening.
Evaluation: Might Brazil be handed win?
South American reporter Tim Vickery:
“The issue right here is attempting to suit every part within the calendar. They went forward with the Copa America – an additional Copa America in June and July – and the issues to return have been apparent.
“You will keep in mind that among the gamers and among the coaches made it clear that they have been taking part in that Copa America underneath protest, not solely due to the pandemic but in addition as a result of they felt that point can be higher employed catching up on World Cup qualification.
“Because it stands, we have tried to suit three litres right into a bottle that solely holds two. One thing needed to give and it is given right now in Sao Paulo.
“It is a very, very awkward one for FIFA as a result of what occurred shouldn’t be European golf equipment versus South American nationwide groups. That is an inside drawback of how the pandemic is being dealt with and the principles in South America, particularly in Brazil.
“What the well being officers right here have performed is uphold the principles and they’re saying the Argentines gave false info once they arrived within the nation.
“These are critical issues so that is very, very troublesome for FIFA as a result of this extrapolates soccer and with the calendar in the meanwhile so crowded, it is not simple to work out if this sport will go forward.
“Will it’s awarded to Brazil on a walkover? If it’ll be rescheduled, when is it going to be rescheduled? This can be a actual headache for the sport’s directors.”