Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero are all included in the Argentina squad but have had a nightmare in their preparations for the clash against Brazil
Brazil’s match with Argentina was thrown into chaos on Sunday as the fixture was stopped just minutes in due to a row over falsified Covid documents.
Four Premier League players are under scrutiny after allegedly ‘lying’ on documents they filled out upon entry to the country.
Aston Villa duo Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez were reporting for duty for the Argentina national team along with Tottenham pair Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero.
ESPN Brasil reported that the Federal Government, FIFA and Conmebol struck an agreement so that all four players would be allowed onto the field to take part in the match.
However, just minutes after the game started, officials from Brazilian’s health authority Anvisa stormed the field accompanied by police officers to reportedly demand the World Cup qualifier be stopped until the four players were off the field and detained.
The match was thrown into chaos and suspended, with players from both sides arguing the toss. PSG teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar were both in action and were seen visibly frustrated by the ordeal.
Messi could be heard saying: “This is a mess, we’re off.”
And directed more comments at one of the health officials: “We’ve been here for three days, we were waiting to play the match, why didn’t you come earlier?”
South American football governing body CONMEBOL tweeted: “By decision of the match referee, the match organised 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 be followed. These procedures strictly adhere to current regulations.
“The World Cup Qualifiers is a FIFA competition. All decisions concerning its organisation and development are the exclusive power of that institution.”
Government rules in Brazil state that any person entering the country having recently been in the UK must observe a period of 14 days’ isolation.
However, all four players allegedly did not declare they had been in the UK and were then under investigation by the local authorities.
This was despite all of them being involved in the last matchday squads for their respective clubs over last weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures.
Not only were they facing a 14-day quarantine period in Brazil, but would also be forced to isolate for 10 days on return to the UK due to visiting a nation on the red list.
“These players arrived in Brazil on a flight from Caracas,” Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said. “The flight landed in Guarulhos (Sao Paulo). They declared that they had not been in any of the four countries which are restricted for the past 14 days. Anvisa was warned about supposedly false information given by these players.
“After that, Anvisa sent a notification to CIEVS (in charge of Sao Paolo’s Covid-19 restrictions). We have to clarify that false information given to Brazilian authorities might be infractions of health laws of the country and might be an infraction of our criminal law.”
The whole squad arrived in Brazil on Friday straight from their win in Venezuela and the Argentinian FA were under the impression they did not need to make the Brazilian authorities aware as they had already indicated to CONMEBOL that the four players were part of their secure bubble.
But this had not been sanctioned by Brazil’s authorities, causing confusion which at one stage looked as though it could lead to the players being booted out of the country.
Brazilian officials visited Argentina’s team hotel in Sao Paolo on Sunday in the hours leading up to their match, with the availability of all four players still up in the air.
The agreement is then said to have been reached to pass all four players for selection for the fixture.
The Brazilian Football Confederation also accepted those players will be featuring, despite their own anger at Premier League chiefs for not allowing their players to travel.
Both Lo Celso and Romero ignored Tottenham’s pleas to join up with Argentina, while Aston Villa gave Buendia and Martinez strict instructions regarding their involvement.
Meanwhile, Brazil have been left without a number of key stars, including Liverpool duo Fabinho and Alisson, as well as Man City pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, plus Chelsea’s Thiago Silva.
Three of the four Argentina players even started the match, with Buendia the only player listed among the substitutes.