The International Football Association Board (FIFA) has opened an investigation into the World Cup qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina. Brazilian health officials boycotted Sunday’s meeting, accusing four guest players of violating national COVID-19 quarantine rules.
FIFA said it has received reports from referees regarding this match and is gathering more details.
“The information will be analyzed by the relevant disciplinary bodies and a decision will be taken in due course,” FIFA said.
Representatives of the Brazilian National Health Control Agency (Anvisa) entered the field with the police shortly after the start of the match, stopping the successful match in Sao Paulo. The competition did not resume.
The reason is the failure of the Argentines in a previous decision of the health authorities to isolate the four “Albicelestes” players from the rest of the team, who play in the English Premier League on a daily basis.
According to the regulations, all people who have been in the UK in the last 14 days after arriving in Brazil must be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
This referee covers Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa as well as Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur. Three of them – with the exception of Buendia – appeared in the main Argentina squad.
According to Anvisa, upon entering Brazil, everyone hid the fact that they had been in the UK for the past two weeks in their application form.
The Brazilian Federal Police said, on Monday, that it had opened an official investigation with two Argentine players.
“We can confirm that an investigation into a possible misrepresentation has begun,” her spokesperson said.
“The players were notified yesterday that they had to leave the country, which is a normal procedure, and statements were received from them,” he added.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino acknowledged on Monday that the situation is reminiscent of the difficulties the world body is facing during the pandemic.
“We saw what happened to the match between Brazil and Argentina, two of the greatest teams in South America. Some officials, police and security officials came to the stadium after a few minutes of play to pick up some players. It’s crazy, but we have to deal with these challenges. Those problems that came up. At the height of the COVID crisis,” Infantino said.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has announced that Martinez and Buendia have been expelled from the group of national teams, which means that they will not participate in the next qualifying match – against Bolivia.
Later it was reported that both Tottenham players – Lo Celso and Romero, who were allowed to return to the London club, will not play in the Bolivia meeting.
Brazil with 21 points leads the South American Qualifiers, where the competition is between peer-to-peer. Argentina is in second place – 15.
From this region, the top four qualified teams will advance directly to the World Cup, and Group E will play in the play-off. (PAP)
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