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A FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying match between Argentina and Brazil was suspended on September 5 when Brazilian health officials entered the pitch seeking the removal of four Argentine players who they said had violated COVID-19 restrictions.
Video shared on Instagram shows a spectator’s view of the incident down on the pitch at Sao Paulo’s Neo Quimica Arena.
According to Globo, members of the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) alleged that four players based in the United Kingdom had failed to disclose that they had been in the UK in the two weeks prior to their arrival in Brazil. They were named as Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovani Lo Celso, defender Cristian Romero, Globo said. Anvisa officials made attempts to reach the four players at their hotel, but they had already left for the arena, Globo reported.
“FIFA can 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,” FIFA tweeted.
In a statement, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said it “deeply regrets the events that ended up causing the suspension” of the match. While it supported “rigorous health protocols,” it said it was “surprised” that officials from the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) chose to intervene after the match had started. The health agency could have carried out its duties in a “much more appropriate manner in the various moments and days prior to the match,” the CBF said.
Those sentiments were echoed by the Argentine Football Association, which expressed “deep discomfort” over the incident. “Like the CBF, the AFA is surprised by the actions of Anvisa once the game has started,” the AFA said, noting that the team had been in Brazil since the morning of September 3 and had complied with all health regulations since its arrival. Credit: @pixoxopatec via Storyful