'Absolute joke': Football world explodes over Covid breach 'disgrace'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Health officials, pictured here running onto the field to stop Argentina's clash with Brazil.
Health officials ran onto the field to stop Argentina's clash with Brazil. Image: Getty

There were extraordinary scenes during Brazil's World Cup qualifier with Argentina on Sunday when health officials ran onto the field in an attempt to detain three players they said broke quarantine rules.

The match was suspended after just seven minutes of play when officials with Brazil's health regulator Anvisa walked onto the pitch at the Corinthians arena to stop the game.

'SHOULD BE ASHAMED': Football world fumes at 'disgusting' scenes

'BOOM': Sam Kerr's 'ultimate smackdown' for online troll

The players were shocked at the encroachment and the Argentines quickly left the field, although the two coaches, along with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazilian players, gathered at the side of the pitch a few moments later to discuss the stoppage.

"Why did they start the game and stop it after five minutes?" Messi could be heard saying.

"We've been here at the stadium for an hour, they could have told us.

“They could have sent us when we arrived three days ago, why are they waiting for the match to start? It's a disgrace, this place is circus."

Messi then returned to the dressing room and at 5pm local time, an hour after the game kicked off, the match was officially suspended.

"The referee and the match official will take a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and they will decide what steps to take," said a statement issued by the South American Football Confederation.

Anvisa's president Antonio Barra Torres said four Argentine players would be fined and deported for allegedly not following Brazil's Covid-19 protocols.

The bizarre incident occurred just hours after Anvisa said the four players had to isolate and could not play in the match.

Lionel Messi, pictured here after Argentina's clash with Brazil was suspended.
Lionel Messi is seen after employees of the National Health Surveillance Agency brought a halt to Argentina's clash with Brazil. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

Football world rages over farcical scenes

The three who started the match - Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Emiliano Martinez - were among four Argentine players who play in England's Premier League.

Under Brazilian rules, visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Brazil's health regulator were tipped off that the four did not state that information on their immigration forms and on Sunday said they confirmed the details given were "false".

"Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil," Anvisa said in a statement.

Health staff members, pictured here arguing with Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni.
Health staff members argue with Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

Nevertheless no action was taken and the three players, along with Emiliano Buendia, were allowed to travel with the Argentine team from the hotel to the Corinthians arena.

Buendia and Martinez play for Aston Villa and Lo Celso and Romero are with Tottenham Hotspur.

The chaotic scenes on Sunday came amid continuing anger in South America at rules which have robbed several teams of key players for this month's three World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil are without nine key men for the Argentina game, and other South American sides have also lost players due to a decision by some European clubs not to let their players travel to the continent.

Fans and commentators flocked to social media to condemn the farcical scenes.

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting