Drama in Sao Paulo as health officials halt Brazil vs Argentina game
|Lionel Messi seeks explanations as health officials halt proceedings in the World Cup qualifiers between Brazil and Argentina. (Photo credit: Marca)|
The World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was suspended after Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch and objected to the participation of four Argentine players they claim broke quarantine rules.
The four player involved in the controversy were Emiliano Buendia and Emi Martinez both of Aston Villa, Giovanni Lo Celso and Christian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur and the state health office claim the players lied about their travel history,
Just minutes after kickoff on Sunday at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo, officials entered the pitch to stop the game, prompting players from Argentina to walk off the pitch.
"The referee and the match official will take a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and they will decide what steps to take," a statement issued by CONMEBOL reads.
In a subsequent statement, FIFA said it "confirm that following a decision by the match officials, the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying match Brazil vs. Argentina has been suspended. Further details will follow in due course."
Following the match, Brazilian health authority Anvisa released a statement in which they declared the situation was "a serious health risk" and "for this reason, local health authorities ordered to immediately quarantine the players."
"After a meeting with the health authorities, it was decided that, after checking the passports of the four players involved, the players did not comply with the rules of entry into Brazilian soil," the statement read. "Travelers who have been in the UK, South Africa, Northern Ireland and India are not allowed in Brazil.
"The players in question declared not to have passed through any of the countries with restrictions in the past 14 days. They arrived in Brazil via a flight from Caracas in Venezuela, destined for Guarulhos.
"However, unofficial news reached Anvisa reporting allegedly false statements made by the travellers."
Argentine captain Lionel Messi was visibly angry. "Why did they start the game and stop it after five minutes?" Messi said in comments heard on television. "We've been here at the stadium for an hour, they could have told us."