The 2022 World Cup Qualifier between Brazil and Argentina has been suspended after Brazilian Federal Police and health officers walked onto the pitch and arrested four Argentinian players who allegedly lied about sticking to the COVID protocols.
The four players – Emi Buendia, Emiliano Martinez both of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham were alleged to have lied to Brazilian health officers to avoid being quarantined in compliant with anti Covid 19 protocols. The Argentine footballers were said to have lied to Brazilian health officers that they have not been to U.K in the last two weeks.
Upon finding out that the players lied, the health officers in company of Federal police, stormed the stadium to arrest the players.
The Brazilian police and health officers arrived the stadium when the match had already started. But they stepped into the pitch, stopped the game, and sent the players to the dressing room.
After a decision by the referee the World Cup qualifying game between Brazil and Argentina was put off.
Argentina’s team captain, Lionel Messi said while reacting to the incident on live television:
“They could have removed us three days ago since we arrived. This is a total disaster. They told us we could play before the match. They were just waiting until the match started, why did they make us play?”
And Argentina manager Scaloni also reacted to the incident with this statement:
“I’m very upset. I don’t blame anyone. This is very sad because it wasn’t the moment to do this on the pitch. This was supposed to be a party to enjoy the best players in the world. Sincerely, I am lost for words. I wish people in Argentina knew what we’re going through. I’m not letting my players get deported. We are being screwed over because we wanted to play, Brazil wanted to play. We’re very upset.”
Following the suspension of the game between two world soccer power houses, FIFA will decide what steps to take next.