FIFA probe Brazilian and Argentine FA’s over abandoned qualifier

September 8 – FIFA has confirmed it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Brazil’s and Argentina’s Football Associations following the farcical scenes that led to their eagerly anticipated World Cup qualifying clash being suspended after just five minutes when Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch to question the quarantine status of certain players.

The Brazilians accused four of Argentina’s English Premier League players – Aston Villa players Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, and Tottenham duo Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero – of breaking Covid-19 quarantine requirements and providing false information to the border authorities. The game between the two arch-rivals did not restart and the Argentine squad flew back to Buenos Aires together on Sunday night.

“Following the analysis of the official match reports related to the FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina, FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened involving both member associations,” FIFA said in a statement.

“The two teams were asked to provide further information on the facts that led to the suspension of the match, which will be gathered and then thoroughly reviewed by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee.”

FIFA cited ongoing legal procedures as the reason it could not provide specifics on the alleged rule breaches or which specific  regulations were being investigated.

The four players were accused by Brazil of falsifying coronavirus declarations by not stating they had been in red-listed Britain in the previous 14 days. Under current Brazilian rules, anyone travelling from the UK has to quarantine for 14 days immediately upon arrival.

The unprecedented scenes were not lost on FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

In a video address to the European Club Association’s general assembly in Geneva, Infantino commented: “We saw what happened with the game between Brazil and Argentina, two of South America’s most glorious teams. Some officials, police, security officials entered the pitch after a few minutes of the game to take away some players, it is crazy but we need to deal with these challenges, these issues which come on top of the Covid crisis.”

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