Brazil vs Argentina clash suspended after health officials storm pitch in quarantine row

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

There was chaos in Sao Paulo on Sunday night after Brazil’s high-profile World Cup qualifier against rivals Argentina was halted after only five minutes in extraordinary scenes.

Brazilian health officials invaded the pitch at Corinthians’ Neo Quimica Arena after objecting to the participation of three Argentina players they have accused of breaking quarantine rules on a farcical night for South American football.

Argentina's four Premier League-based players - Aston Villa duo Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia and Tottenham pair Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero - had been ordered to isolate by Brazil's health agency Anvisa just hours ahead of the match.

“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 earlier on Sunday.

Despite that order, three of the four started for Argentina on Sunday, with Buendia not in the squad.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Current Brazilian Covid regulations state that visitors to the country who have been in the UK - which is on Brazil’s red list - in the 14 days prior to their arrival must then quarantine for 14 days.

Argentina’s players walked off the pitch after the disruption and returned to the dressing room, with it appearing unclear if the match would resume before it was later confirmed after a lengthy delay that proceedings had been called off.

Brazil’s players then engaged in a training session on the pitch.

On Twitter, the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said: “By decision of the match referee, the match organised by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup qualifiers is suspended.

“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.

“The World Cup qualifiers are a FIFA competition. All decisions concerning their organisation and development are the exclusive power of that institution.”

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters.

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