São Paulo, Brazil – Due to the outbreak of the dispute over the COVID-19 agreement, Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina was dramatically suspended shortly after the start of Sunday.
When a group of Brazilian public health officials came on the field, causing a scuffle between team staff and players, the game between the two major South American football giants at the new Kimica Arena in Sao Paulo came to an abrupt end.
With anger raging, the Argentine players trudged from the court to the locker room. Argentina captain Lionel Messi later reappeared from the tunnel without wearing a team jersey, and chaos swept the stadium.
Just a few hours after Brazilian health authorities stated that four players in the Argentina team in England should be “immediately quarantined” for violating the COVID-19 agreement, this shocking intervention took place.
According to the Brazilian National Health Inspection Agency (ANVISA), Premier League players Giovanni Loscelso (Tottenham), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Emiliano Buendi Asia (Aston Villa) and Christian Romero (Tottenham) provided “false information” when they entered Brazil.
Romero, Lo Celso and Martinez were all in the Argentine starting lineup at the beginning of Sunday’s game, triggering an intervention in officials wearing ANVISA jerseys.
The four Premier League players were accused of failing to disclose that they had stayed in the UK in the 14 days prior to arrival.
“We got here because everything that ANVISA directed from the beginning was not realized,” ANVISA director Antonio Baratores said on Brazilian TV.
“(Four players) were instructed to stay in isolation while waiting for deportation, but they did not comply. They went to the stadium and entered the field, a series of violations,” the official added.
A government order dating back to June 23 prohibits any foreigners from the UK, India or South Africa from entering Brazilian territory to prevent the spread of variants of the coronavirus.
“ANVISA believes that this situation poses a serious health risk and recommends that the local health authorities (São Paulo) order the immediate isolation of players, prohibiting them from participating in any activities and staying on Brazilian territory,” the agency said earlier on Sunday. The statement said.
ANVISA stated that the Brazilian Federal Police has been notified to “take necessary measures immediately.”
The Brazilian website Globoesporte stated that the Argentine Football Association (AFA) can request special authorization from the Sao Paulo authorities to allow players to play against Brazil.
The dispute occurred after nine Brazilians in the Premier League failed to travel to South America due to opposition from the club.