World association

Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifiers ended after 5 minutes to replay

Soccer Football – World Cup – South American Qualifiers – Brazil v Argentina – Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Brazil – September 5, 2021 Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar are seen as play is halted after Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of three Argentine players they say they broke quarantine rules REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

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Feb 14 (Reuters) – The World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina in September, which was suspended just minutes after kick-off when health officials rushed onto the pitch , must be replayed, football’s governing body FIFA said on Monday.

The match at the NeoQuimica Arena in Sao Paulo was halted after five minutes when Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch to stop the England-based Argentine players from playing, claiming they had breached COVID-19 quarantine rules from the country.

Officials said the Argentines broke rules that said travelers who had been to the UK, South Africa or India in the previous two weeks were barred from entering Brazil, unless they were citizens or had permanent residency.

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The players had deceived border authorities by stating they had not been to a redlisted country in the 14 days prior to the match, Brazilian officials said.

Argentinian officials said they believed the same protocols used at the Copa America in Brazil in June last year were in place for the World Cup qualifiers to allow teams to travel across the continent . The South American Football Confederation confirmed this interpretation.

FIFA, however, said the two nations’ inability to complete the game required disciplinary action.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has concluded that the abandonment of the match resulted from several shortcomings by the parties involved,” FIFA said in a statement.

The match “is expected to be replayed on a date and at a location to be determined by FIFA”, he said.

The Disciplinary Committee also banned the four England-based Argentine players – Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero – for two international matches.

FIFA has also fined the Brazilian and Argentine football associations 500,000 Swiss francs ($540,000) and 200,000 Swiss francs, respectively, for their failure to provide “order and security”.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) said it would appeal the decision.

“The decision does not correspond to the facts,” the AFA said, asking FIFA to provide the legal basis for the decision so that it could prepare an appeal.

The Brazilian Football Confederation also criticized the decision and said it was deciding what action to take.

The two nations have already qualified unbeaten for Qatar, with Brazil topping the South American qualifying group, four points ahead of Argentina. Both teams have three games to play.

The last scheduled round of qualifying matches takes place at the end of March.

($1 = 0.9265 Swiss francs)

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Reporting by Andrew Downie and Dhruv Munjal; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Pritha Sarkar, Christian Radnedge and Tom Hogue

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