FIFA on Monday ordered Brazil and Argentina to replay a World Cup qualifier that was interrupted in São Paulo in September due to alleged breaches of the Covid-19 quarantine by the visitors.
Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch seven minutes into the September 5 clash between the South American giants at São Paulo’s Neo Química Arena (formerly Arena Corinthians), stopping the game and triggering a scrum involving team officials and players.
“After a thorough investigation into the various factual elements and in the light of the applicable regulations, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that the match must be replayed on a date and at a place to be determined by FIFA”, indicates a World Football Federation press release. governing body on Monday.
Both nations are unbeaten in the South American qualifier and are sure to finish in the top two places in the 10-team group, although both have three games to play, including the rematch. The top four teams automatically qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Hours before the on-pitch drama in September, Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) said four Argentine players based at English clubs at the time should be placed in “immediate quarantine” for breaching Covid-19 protocols.
According to ANVISA, the Premier League players – Cristian Romero and then team-mate Giovani Lo Celso of Tottenham, and Emiliano Martínez and Emiliano Buendía of Aston Villa – provided “false information” when entering Brazil.
On Monday, FIFA said “the abandonment of the match resulted from several failures by the parties involved in their respective responsibilities”.
FIFA suspended the four Argentine players for two matches each for “non-compliance with FIFA’s international football return match protocol”.
It also imposed a series of fines on the two national football associations.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) must pay 500,000 Swiss francs (540,000 dollars, 477,000 euros) for “infractions related to order and security”.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was fined 200,000 Swiss francs for “failure to comply with its obligations regarding order and security, preparation and participation in the match”.
Both federations were also fined 50,000 Swiss francs for abandoning the match.
The AFA announced on Monday that it would appeal FIFA’s decision.
“As President of the AFA, I pledge to make every effort and appeal FIFA’s decision regarding the qualifying match with Brazil. Our priority is always the Argentina national team,” said Claudio.chiquI said Tapía on Twitter.
South American soccer governing body CONMEBOL declined to comment on the decision.
“It’s a FIFA event. Conmebol is not going to give its opinion,” spokesman Ariel Ramirez told AFP.
CBF had yet to respond publicly at press time.
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