There was drama during Sunday’s World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina, with Tottenham duo Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero at the heart of it.
Officials from Brazil’s health regulatory agency (ANVISA) interrupted the match in Sao Paulo after just five minutes, entering the pitch and reportedly accusing Argentina’s Premier League quartet – including Aston Villa’s Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez – of lying to enter the country.
Brazil’s Covid restrictions state that anyone who has been in the UK within the previous 14 days must complete two weeks of isolation. But Argentina insist a separate agreement was in place.
We look at everything that has been said in the aftermath of the incident.
The Argentina captain has had an eventful summer, so it was not too surprising to see his patience snap after the health agency entered the field.
“We’ve been here for three days, we were waiting to play the match, why didn’t you come earlier?” Messi was heard shouting at the officials, according to RMC Sport.
The 34-year-old was also seen in deep conversation with Brazil manager Tite as well as Neymar and Casemiro as the incident developed.
Messi picked up his first major trophy on the national stage over the summer as Argentina won the Copa America, and he will be eager to repeat the feat in Qatar next year.
Scaloni, the manager of Argentina, was equally baffled by the timing of the intervention, with his squad having trained in Brazil for three days prior to the match.
“It makes me very sad. I’m not looking for any culprits. Whether or not something happened, it was not the time to make that intervention,” he said after the match was abandoned.
“It should have been a party for everyone, to enjoy the best players in the world. I would like the people of Argentina to understand that as a coach I have to defend my players.
“At no time were we notified that they could not play the match. We wanted to play the game, the players from Brazil too.”
The head of the Argentinian FA was adamant that there was no dishonesty on the part of his squad, claiming that a strict protocol was followed to the letter.
“Here you can’t talk about any lie because there is a health legislation under which all South American tournaments are played,” he told journalists after the match.
“The health authorities of each country approved a protocol that we have been complying with to the maximum.
“What was experienced today is regrettable for football, it is a very bad image. Four people [from ANVISA] came in to interrupt the match to make a notification and Conmebol asked the players to go to the locker room.”
Argentina’s ambassador to Brazil gave an interview as players from both teams left the stadium, confirming that Scaloni’s side would be returning to Argentina.
“The four players, with the whole team, are returning to Argentina,” Scioli told reporters.
“Now they are in the process of leaving the country with the full attention of the Brazilian Federal Police. We appreciate all their help.”
As a qualifier for their showpiece event, FIFA released a statement in response to the scenes. Although it did not offer a lot of new information.
“FIFA regrets the scenes preceding the suspension of the match between Brazil and Argentina for the CONMEBOL qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup 2022 which prevented millions of fans from enjoying a match between two of the most important football nations in the world,” the statement read.
“The first match official reports have been sent to FIFA. This information will be analysed by the competent disciplinary bodies and a decision will be taken in due course. “
The governors of South American football released a statement in the aftermath, although, as a FIFA competition, the buck was passed to them.
“By decision of the match referee, the match organised by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup Qualifiers is suspended,” the statement read.
“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.
“The World Cup Qualifiers is a FIFA competition. All decisions concerning its organization and development are the exclusive power of that institution.”
As Brazil’s healthy regulatory agency, ANVISA maintained that they acted in the correct fashion by entering the pitch and stopping the game.
“These players arrived in Brazil on a flight from Caracas,” they said in a statement. “The flight landed in Guarulhos (Sao Paulo).
“They declared that they had not been in any of the four countries which are restricted for the past 14 days. Anvisa was warned about supposedly false information given by these players.
“After that, Anvisa sent a notification to CIEVS (in charge of Sao Paolo’s Covid-19 restrictions). We have to clarify that false information given to Brazilian authorities might be infractions of health laws of the country and might be an infraction of our criminal law.”
Source by Football London