The match between Brazil and Argentina for World Cup Qualifiers was suspended after Brazilian health authorities interrupted five minutes after the start because four Argentine players are accused of giving false information to the health authorities. They also received a deportation order.
The four players are: Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero. Three were starting the match: Goalkeeper Martindez, Lo Celso and Romero. The alleged infraction was reported earlier but Conmebol said that the players were allowed to play because they are in the team’s bubble.
The four players travelled with their nation for the September international round despite the Premier League's restrictions on travel, based on the UK’s red list. For example, Brazil lost nine players as a result from the same restrictions.
What did Conmebol say?
After almost an hour of uncertainty, Conmebol announced via Twitter that the match was suspended. The South American government body said that the decision was made by the match referee and that FIFA, who is the organizer of the Qualifiers, have to decide the next steps. Here is the statement:
"By decision of the match referee, the match organized 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 follow. These procedures adhere strictly to current regulations. The World Cup Qualifiers is a FIFA competition. All decisions concerning its organization and development are the exclusive power of that institution."
Several reports of the quartet's infraction emerged following their arrival in Brazil. However, Conmebol maintained that their presence was allowed as they formed part of the national team’s bubble. "Our tournaments are played inside a sanitary bubble which excuses delegation from going into quarantine for 72 hours," CONMEBOL general secretary Gonzalo Belloso told Clarín.
Hours earlier before the match, journalist Hernan Castillo informed via Twitter that Argentina asked to leave all the players to go to the match or otherwise they would withdraw and request Conmebol to remove the points from Brazil for not complying with the rules agreed by all the delegations.
What did Brazil's authorities say?
Here’s the transcript of the health authorities from Brazil, Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency):
"Following the report that four Argentine players entered Brazil in defiance of the country's sanitary regulations, allegedly giving false information to the Brazilian health authority, Anvisa met with representatives of the Health Ministry and Disease Control Coordination of Sao Paulo's State Health Department," a statement explained on Sunday.
"After meeting with health authorities it was confirmed, following revision of the passports of the four players involved, that the athletes broke the rules for the entry of travellers on Brazilian soil, which decrees that foreign travellers who have been in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Northern Ireland and India in the last 14 days are banned from entering Brazil.
"The players in question declared they had not been in any of those four restricted countries in the last 14 days. They arrived in Brazil on a flight from Caracas which landed in Guarulhos (Sao Paulo). Then, unofficial reports came to Anvisa over alleged false declarations from the travellers.
"Anvisa considers the situation a severe health risk, and has therefore instructed local health authorities to impose immediate quarantine measures on the players, who are banned from engaging in any activity and will be unable to remain in Brazilian territory."