Covid chaos in Brazil as health authorities storm the pitch to DETAIN Premier League quartet playing for Argentina DURING the match, amid claims they lied to officials when entering the country
- Health officials invaded the pitch in Brazil’s World Cup qualifier versus Argentina
- They sought to detain Tottenham ‘s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso and Aston Villa ‘s Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia
- All four Premier League players were accused of breaching Brazil’s Covid-19 quarantine protocols
Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina has been sensationally suspended after authorities stormed the pitch to detain several Premier League players.
According to several reports, Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso and Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia were sought by the Brazilian authorities for allegedly failing to follow the country’s Covid-19 quarantine protocols.
The players reportedly did not quarantine as is required for entrants into Brazil from the UK, although CONMEBOL is said to have understood that the players were exempt from quarantining.
Health authorities stormed the pitch in Brazil versus Argentina to detain four Premier League players
Christian Romero (top left), Giovani Lo Celso (top right), Emiliano Martinez (bottom left) and Emi Buendia (bottom right) are accused of breaking Brazil’s Covid-19 quarantine rules
However, mere minutes after kick-off on Sunday, the health authorities flooded onto the pitch to stop Romero, Lo Celso and Martinez from playing. Buendia was on the substitute’s bench.
After much confusion and chaos, Argentina walked off the pitch.
The incident occurred just hours after Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said four Argentine players must isolate and could not play in the match.
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.
As reported exclusively by Sportsmail last week, the four Premier League players allegedly failed to declare on official documents that they had been in the United Kingdom in the past 14 days when they arrived in Sao Paulo on Friday ahead of Argentina’s huge World Cup qualifier against Brazil.
The four players allegedly did not declare they had been in the UK on their entry forms to Brazil
Following the chaos and confusion, Argentina’s players walked off the pitch at the scenes
The players are alleged to have declared they had been in Argentina and Venezuela but not the UK despite having either featured or been on the bench for their club’s games in the Premier League – the most-watched league in the world – last weekend.
‘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.
Nevertheless, no action was taken and the three, along with Buendia, were allowed to travel with the Argentine team from the hotel to the Corinthians arena.
Brazilian law states that anyone who has been in the UK during that time must quarantine in a hotel for 14 days, a move that would mean the four players could not return until at least September 18 before a further 10 days in a UK hotel following a visit to a red-list country.
That would rule the players out of at least three Premier League games, one round of Carabao Cup fixtures, and at least one of Spurs’ Europa Conference League fixtures. The Tottenham players had originally defied club orders not to travel on international duty.
Argentina icon Lionel Messi (centre) walks off the pitch as authorities suspended the match
Argentina’s Marcos Acuna and Nicolas Otamendi remonstrate with a Brazilian health official
However, Government sources in Sao Paulo told Sportsmail the players were unlikely to be kept in a hotel for 14 days and could instead be ordered to pay a fine and leave the country.
The confusion comes 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 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.
They would have to quarantine on return and the clubs do not want to lose their players for subsequent league games.
Aston Villa said the two Emilianos had agreed to return to their club after the Brazil game and miss Argentina’s game against Bolivia on Tuesday. The Argentine Football Association, however, said they would play all three games.
Brazil currently lead the South American qualifying group for Qatar 2022, six points ahead of second-placed Argentina. The top four qualify automatically for Qatar.
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