The kickoff had been given just five minutes before. On Sunday September 5, the qualifying match for the 2022 Brazil-Argentina World Cup was interrupted by Brazilian health authorities. At issue: four Argentinian players accused of not having respected anti-Covid protocols.
The Brazilian health agency Anvisa, estimated that these four players – Giovani Lo Celso, Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia and Cristian Romero – who all play in the Premier League in England, had provided ” fake news “ in the entry form to Brazil, failing to indicate that they had stayed in the United Kingdom during the fourteen days prior to their arrival. In a statement, Anvisa ordered the immediate quarantine of the players.
A ministerial order dated June 23 prohibits entry into Brazilian territory to any foreign person from the United Kingdom, India or South Africa, to prevent the spread of variants of Covid-19. But according to the Globoesporte news site, the Argentine Federation would have requested an exceptional authorization from the authorities of Sao Paulo to allow the players to be aligned against the Seleção.
“Here, we are forgotten, there is only God”: journey through Brazil struck down by the Covid
Unlike the nine Brazilians in the Premier League summoned by coach Tite, the four Argentines made the trip despite the veto of the English clubs, who banned their South American players from participating in these international matches to avoid a quarantine on their return.
“What Anvisa had recommended was not respected”
On Sunday evening, the health authorities therefore burst onto the field after the kick-off. After a few moments of confusion, the players returned to the locker room, Neymar and Lionel Messi – who now play together at Paris-Saint-Germain – having remained on the lawn to understand what was happening.
In a statement shared on Twitter, FIFA confirmed that the match had been “Suspended by decision of the arbitrator”. As reported by “the World”, the Argentines tried to negotiate in the locker room, without success. They ended up leaving the stadium three hours later, an hour after the Brazilian team.
“At no time were we informed that [les quatre joueurs] could not play the game. We wanted to play, and the Brazilians too ”, got annoyed the Argentine coach, Lionel Scaloni, quoted on the Argentinian federation’s Twitter account.
“We’ve been here for three days, why haven’t they come before? “, Asked Lionel Messi, alongside Neymar and the coaches of both teams, in a video from Argentina’s TyC channel.
Renata, Andrey, Luna … Committed citizens, they are fighting in a Brazil devastated by the Covid
“We got to this situation because everything that Anvisa had recommended from the start was not followed. [Les joueurs] had been instructed to remain isolated while awaiting deportation [du pays], but they went to the stadium and entered the field ”, for his part deplored the director of the health agency, Antonio Barra Torres, to the TV Globo channel.
Take advantage of the € 1 offer for 3 months with Google
The president of the AFA, he denied everything ” lie “ from his players.