Brazil vs Argentina 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers had to be abandoned after it was confirmed that four Argentine players from the Premier League were on the pitch without following covid-19 protocol.
The covid-19 rule in Brazil is that any person who arrives in Brazil less than 14 days after visiting the United Kingdom, should self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
However, Argentina had four players who flew from the United Kingdom for the World Cup qualifiers few days before the kickoff of the match.
The four Premier League players who are believed to be the reason why the health authority in Brazil stopped the match are Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham.
Before the kick-off of the match, Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa reportedly informed the Argentine contingents to self-isolate four of their players one hour before the kick-off of the match in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
However, the Argentina national team reportedly did not get the message as the four Premier League players were allowed onto the field.
About 6 minutes after the kick-off of Brazil vs Argentina World Cup qualifiers, some Anvisa’s health officials stormed the pitch and urged the Premier League players to vacate the stadium.
Immediately they worked on to the pitch, the referee halted the game while some prominent members from both teams including Argentina’s Lionel Messi tried to discuss a way forward.
After a series of back and forth, both teams failed to reach a compromise and the match had to be abandoned indefinitely when the scoreline was 0-0.
“Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil,” Anvisa said in a statement ahead of kick-off.
The referee is expected to write a disciplinary report on why the match was abandoned to FIFA which would form the basis for FIFA’s resolution in the coming days.
Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said: “I’ve come here so that our country can find out what’s happened. It makes me very sad.
“I’m not looking to find any guilty parties. Whether something happened or not, it wasn’t the right time for that intervention.
“It should’ve been a footballing spectacle for everyone to enjoy the best players in the world. I’d like the Argentine people to understand that as the national team coach, I have to defend my players.
“At no point were we notified that they couldn’t play. We wanted to play the game, as did the Brazil players.”
While the Argentine FA president Claudio Tapia said: “There can’t be any talk of lies here because there is health legislation under which all South American competitions are played.
“Health authorities in every country approved a protocol that we have been fully compliant with.
“What’s happened today is terrible for football and sends out a very bad image. Four people interrupted the game to inform us of something and CONMEBOL asked the players to go to the dressing room.”
The possible conspiracy theory behind Brazil’s health authorities move to halt Brazil vs Argentina match
Since the incident happened the speculation is that the Brazilian health authorities acted in anger because they could not get the services of some of their key players playing in the Premier League.
Though Argentina were able to get four of their Premier League-based players for Brazil vs Argentina World Cup qualifiers, Brazil were not able to do so.
Recall that Brazil and Argentina are among the countries on the red-list of the UK government. Hence, Premier League clubs agreed not to release players to the countries because the players would have to quarantine for 10 days when they return to the UK.
However, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur reached a compromise with Argentina that enabled them to release the Argentine players playing at the clubs for the game.
As for Brazil, no Premier League club agreed to release their players for the World Cup qualifiers. Hence, they went into the game without their Liverpool trio Alisson, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino, and Manchester City pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus.
Though the official reason why the health authority in Brazil interfered in the game is based on health risk, anger within the football corridor of power in Brazil is suspected to be a strong motivation to how Brazil vs Argentina game ended.