Everything was set for another South American classic between Brazil and Argentina on Sunday for World Cup Qualifiers, when Brazilian health officials took to the field five minutes into the match at the Corinthians Arena to object to the participation of three Argentine players they say broke COVID-19 quarantine rules.
Emiliano Martinez, Giovanni Lo Celso, Emiliano Buendia and Cristian Romero are accused of giving false information to health authorities after not declaring that they were in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country and they didn’t quarantine for 14 days on arrival. However, the players followed FIFA and Conmebol protocols as they were part of the team’s buble.
After the interruption, Argentine players retired from the pitch, while the Brazilians waited for instructions. At 4 pm ET time, Conmebol announced that the match was suspended and explained that the next steps regarding this match will be determined by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee.However, it’s been heavily implied that the most probable course of action will be that the match won’t be played. In that case, which country will take the points? Here, check out the possible outcomes.
Can Brazil take the points?
According to the Brazilian health authorities, Anvisa, the players gave false information when they arrived in the country from Venezuela on Friday. After that infraction, the four players received a deportation order meaning they couldn’t take part in any activities on Brazilian soil.
However, as Reuters reports, Brazilian Football Confederation president Ednaldo Rodrigues criticised Anvisa and said officials told him the Argentines who breached the country's COVID-19 rules could have been deported after the game. “With all due respect to Anvisa, they could have resolved this earlier and not waited for the game to start,” he told Brazil’s Sportv.
However, Anvisa said in a new statement that the decision to interrupt the game was not taken by the Agency and they stand by their version. While everything seems lost for the Brazilians, there is a chance that they could take the points because Argentine players left the pitch before there was any decision made. They could appeal that the game wasn’t played due to the Argentine team behaviour (article 14 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code).
Why should Argentina take the points?
On the other hand, Argentina claims that the players followed the protocols stipulated by FIFA and Conmebol, as the president of Argentine Federation Claudio Tapia claimed in a tweet. Also, hours earlier before the match, Conmebol general secretary Gonzalo Belloso told Clarín that "our tournaments are played inside a sanitary bubble which excuses delegation from going into quarantine for 72 hours,".
While the Argentine players left the pitch after the incident, they understand that the game couldn’t be played due to the invasion of the health officials, which could constitute a force majeure reason. In that case, they could receive the points if the FIFA Disciplinary Committee understands that the Brazil’s Federation did something wrong.
Lionel Scaloni, Argentine coach, said that “as a coach I am going to defend my players. If people come and say we want to take this guy or deport this guy there was no chance of that," he said. "Because at no time were we told we couldn't play the game.", he concluded. Now, FIFA will take the last world.