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World Cup Qualifier Stopped As Police Invade Pitch Over Alleged Quarantine Breach

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World Cup Qualifier Stopped As Police Invade Pitch Over Alleged Quarantine Breach

Brazil and Argintina's World Cup qualifier was suspended just minutes after kick-off yesterday (5 September), as authorities confronted four Premier League players they believe broke quarantine rules.

Police and officials believed to be from Brazil's health authority were seen storming onto the pitch within minutes of the high profile game at the Neo Quimica Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting.

According to ANVISA, the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency, Argentina's four Premier League players - Tottenham's Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso and Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia - are alleged to have declared false information on forms supplied to authorities, in turn violating quarantine rules.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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A statement from ANVISA said: "After a meeting with the health authorities, it was confirmed, after consulting the passports of the four players involved, that the athletes failed to comply with the rule for the entry of travellers on Brazilian soil."

Visitors who have been in the UK within 14 days of entering Brazil must currently quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, unless they provide specific exemption details.

However, ANVISA said the players had declared they had not passed through the UK within the past 14 days.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The statement continued: "ANVISA considers the situation a serious health risk, and therefore advised the local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of players, who are prevented from participating in any activity and must be prevented from remaining in Brazilian territory."

FIFA confirmed that the fame had been suspended, adding that 'further details will follow in due course'.

South American football's governing body Conmebol said in a statement: "By decision of the match referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup Qualifiers is suspended.

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"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."

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

The Argentinian team left the stadium, leaving Brazilian players to return to the pitch to entertain fans with a training session.

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said: "It makes me very sad. I'm not looking for anyone to blame. Whether or not something happened, it was not the time to make that intervention [during the game]. It should have been a celebration for everyone to enjoy the best players in the world.

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"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, as did the players from Brazil."

Argentinian Football Association president Claudio Tapia added: "You cannot talk about any lie here because there is health legislation under which all South American tournaments are played. The health authorities of each country approved a protocol that we have been complying with to the fullest.

"What happened today is unfortunate for football, it is a very bad image. Four people entered to interrupt the game to make a notification and CONMEBOL asked the players to go to the locker room."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: SPORT, News, Football, Argentina, Brazil

Jess Hardiman
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