Brazil v Argentina abandoned five minutes after kick-off after visiting players accused of Covid violation

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Brazil and Argentina’s World Cup qualifier was abandoned just minutes after kick-off on Sunday after Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of three Argentine players they believe broke quarantine rules.

The visitors walked off the pitch at the Corinthians Arena after the officials came out to stop the game.

The dramatic intervention came hours after Brazil’s health authorities had said four England-based players for Argentina had to quarantine.

Although it did not name the four, the players with English Premier League clubs are Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, and Giovani lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur.

Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero all started the game in Sao Paulo.

No date for the rearranged fixture has been set with Argentina players leaving to prepare for their next World Cup qualifier – at home to Bolivia on Friday, 10 September.

Fifa will now gather evidence from all sides to fully understand the events that led to the match suspension before it decides on the most appropriate course of action.

Around one hour after the game was stopped and while Brazilian players organised an impromptu training session on the pitch, South American football’s governing body Conmebol said in a statement: “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 strictly adhere to current regulations.”

Under Brazilian rules, visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

“We got to this point because everything that ANVISA directed, from the first moment, was not fulfilled,” Antonio Barra Torres, director at Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa, said on Brazilian television, according to AFP.

“[The four players] were directed to remain isolated while awaiting deportation, but they did not comply. They went to the stadium and they entered the field, in a series of breaches,” the official added.

Agencies

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