FIFA to analyze official reports after Brazil-Argentina suspension

AGENCY: SEPT. 7 – World football governing body FIFA said Monday it will analyze reports from match officials before deciding upon a course of action for the suspended World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina.

Sunday’s clash at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena was called off shortly after kickoff when Brazilian health officials walked onto the pitch to object to the participation of three Argentine players for allegedly breaching COVID-19 protocols.

It was unclear if the match would be rescheduled or whether either team would be sanctioned with a forfeit.

“FIFA regrets the scenes preceding the suspension of the match between Brazil and Argentina for the CONMEBOL qualifiers of the FIFA 2022 World Cup 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 analyzed by the competent disciplinary bodies and a decision will be taken in due course.” Brazil’s federal police opened a formal investigation into the case on Monday.

According to Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, Premier League players Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Emiliano Buendia failed to comply with entry regulations for travellers.

Rules introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 prohibit non-Brazilians from entering the country if they have passed through the United Kingdom, South Africa, Northern Ireland and India in the past 14 days.

In a statement issued hours before the match, Anvisa accused the players of providing false information on immigration forms and ordered them to self-isolate immediately. The entity said it was forced to interrupt the match because Argentina had ignored its request.

Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero were on the pitch when the match was stopped while Buendia was watching from the stands. The Argentina squad left Brazil on Sunday night after the four players provided statements to federal police.

Claudio Tapia, the president of the Argentinian Football Association, denied suggestions the players had broken any rules or acted improperly.

“You can’t talk about anybody lying because there is a health legislation under which all South American [football] tournaments are played,” he told reporters.

“The health authorities of each country approved a protocol that we have been closely complying with,” he added.