The unexpected and grotesque suspension of the match between Brazil and Argentina, the great South American classic, this Sunday provoked immediate reactions and a certain crossing of accusations. Inspectors from Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) burst onto the field shortly after the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, accusing four of the Argentines of violating sanitary standards and lying when entering the Brazil.
FIFA limited itself to confirming the suspension of the match by decision of the referee, without giving further details. He guaranteed that he will offer them later.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) released an official statement about the stoppage of the derby, highlighting its surprise with the behavior of the health agents. “CBF defends the implementation of the most rigorous health protocols and complies with them in their entirety. However, he emphasizes that he was absolutely surprised by the moment when the action of the National Health Surveillance Agency took place, with the match having already started, since Anvisa could have exercised its activity in a much more appropriate manner in the various moments and days prior to the match.”
Álex Campos, director of Anvisa, stressed that this was not the expected result. “The game shouldn’t be cancelled. But they committed one offense after another. We asked them not to leave the hotel, to stay in quarantine, and finally they were taken to the countryside. Or do we have rules in Brazil [para todos] or we don’t have”, he told the newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
The Government of Argentina quickly responded through the migration director: “If Brazil considered the country of origin of Argentine players as a risk zone, in addition to the protocol established by FIFA, it could have acted upon entry into its territory. Waiting for three days and taking the field suspending a match seems more like an act than a health measure,” tweeted Florencia Carignano, Argentina’s national director of migration.
Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), expressed his discomfort and denied that his country’s players had lied. He claims that the members of his selection complied with the protocol approved by the health authorities of each of the countries participating in the qualifiers. He added: “What happened today is regrettable for football, it’s a very bad image. Four people came in to interrupt the match to make a notification and Conmebol asked the players to go to the locker room“, he tweeted.
Conmebol succinctly announced that the game is suspended by decision of the referee and that the referee will submit a report to the FIFA disciplinary committee. In addition, he highlighted the responsibility of the International Football Federation: “The World Cup qualifiers are a FIFA competition. All decisions concerning its organization and development are the exclusive competence of that institution“.
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