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“Scandal”, “regrettable”, “embarrassment”: these are some of the adjectives of the press before what happened this Sunday in São Paulo in the meeting between Brazil and Argentina.
The qualifying match for the World Cup was suspended 5 minutes after it started when Brazilian health authorities entered the field to object to the participation of four Argentine footballers accused of not complying with the regulations in force due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The dramatic intervention came hours after health authorities said that albiceleste players from the United Kingdom should be quarantined.
Is about Emiliano Martínose, Giovani lo Celso, Christian romero and Emiliano Buendwas going. The first three started the game as starters.
According to the sanitary regulations in force in Brazil, visitors who have been in the United Kingdom in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days.
Conmebol, the governing body of South American football, reported on its Twitter account that “by decision of the match referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup Qualifiers is suspended.”
“The referee and the match commissioner will submit a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which will determine the steps to be followed. These procedures adhere strictly to current regulations, “he added.
BBC Sport’s South American soccer expert Tim Vickery commented on what happened at the Neo Química Arena (formerly Arena Corinthians): “What a ridiculous way to score one of the great games in world football.”
The Spanish sports statistics specialist known as MisterChip shared in a tweet Sunday morning some of the reasons why he anticipated it would be an “epic” match.
Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) had reported in a pre-match statement: “Anvisa considers the situation to be a serious health risk and therefore has asked the local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who cannot participate in any activity and must be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil“.
According to AFP, Antonio Barra Torres, director of Anvisa, told local media: “We have reached this point because everything Anvisa ordered was not fulfilled from the first moment.”
He also claimed that the four players “were instructed to remain isolated while awaiting deportation, but did not comply. They went to the stadium and entered the field in a series of infractions.”
For his part, the technical director of the Argentine national team, Lionel Scaloni, declared: “It’s very sad what just happened, when it should have been a party for everyone to enjoy this game. “
Similarly, Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Soccer Association, AFA, tweeted: “I am very sorry for the suspension of what should be a party for South American soccer. We have always been guided by the current health legislation in Conmebol. awaiting the ruling of the FIFA Disciplinary Court “.
The AFA issued a statement this Sunday in which he expressed “deep malaise” by the suspension of the party in San Pablo.
“Like the Brazilian Football Confederation, CBF, the AFA is surprised by the actions of Anvisa once the game has started,” he emphasizes.
“It should be noted that the Albiceleste Delegation was in Brazilian territory since September 3 at 8 am, complying with all current sanitary protocols regulated by Conmebol for the normal development of the Qualifiers towards Qatar 2022.”
And he added that episodes like this “undermine the sportsmanship of such an important competition.”
CBF President Ednaldo Rodrigues criticized health officials for the moment they chose to intervene the party.
“I am sorry for all the sports fans who wanted to watch the game on television,” he told the Sportv de Brasil sports channel. “With all due respect to Anvisa, they could have solved this earlier and not wait for the game to start.”
No new date has been set for the suspended match between Brazil and Argentina.
For now, the Albicelestes will travel to their country to face Bolivia on Friday, September 10.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.