Fifa World Qualifying
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Wild Scenes At Corinthians Stadium In Brazil
In controversial scenes, a World Cup Qualifier between Brazil and Argentina has been halted just minutes after kick-off by Brazillian health authorities. The health officials entered the pitch, objecting to the participation of four Argentinian players who had allegedly broken COVID-19 protocol.
The four players - Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez,Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero - all play inm the Premier League. Under Brazil’s current COVID protocol visitors from the United Kingdom must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to the country. The four players are accused of falsifying information on their immigration papers.
Despite the rules, the four accused were allowed to continue to the team hotel and travel to the stadium. Christian Romero, Gio Lo Celso, and goalkeeper Emi Martinez were all in the starting lineup, causing the farcical scenes.
The players immediately returned to the locker room. The two coaches, however, along with Lionel Messi and some Brazillian players gathered on the sidelines. Messi could be heard exclaiming ‘Why did they stop the game after 5 minutes, we’ve been at the stadium for hours’. After the players and staff dispersed back to the changerooms, it was announced the game had been called off at about 5 p.m. local time.
The Argentines found an unlikely ally in Brazillian CBF President Ednaldo Rodrigues. He attacked ANVISA calling them out for the unfair treatment of the Albiceleste and the ridiculous decision to wait until the game had started to make their decision.
Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni was scathing, claiming they had never been told the payers couldn’t play. ANTIVISA released this statement after events had transpired-
“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,”
Inexplicably, despite all the shenanigans, the four players accused faced no repercussions and were allowed to travel back to the hotel in Corinthians with their teammates.
The incident comes amid mounting anger from locals at the laws surrounding COVID in South America that has robbed South American teams of many of their top players. Teams in Europe are unwilling to release them for international duty as they would have to quarantine on return for 14 days and miss multiple fixtures.
It has decimated many South American sides attempting to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Brazil was without 9 of its stars due to the COVID controversy.
Despite this, the Selecao remain top of South American qualifying - 6 points ahead of second-place Argentina - looking assured of automatic qualification
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