Sep 5, 2021 - Sports

Brazil-Argentina soccer game stopped by health officials

Argentina's Lionel Messi and Brazil's Neymar as health officials enter the field during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier between Brazil and Argentina in Brazil

Argentina's Lionel Messi (left) and Brazil's Neymar join in as health agency officials enter the soccer pitch during a South American World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil and Argentina's soccer World Cup qualifier was postponed minutes after it began when Brazilian health officials intervened and raised concerns COVID-19 protocols had been broken Sunday.

Driving the news: South American soccer's governing body, CONMEBOL, confirmed the match at Sao Paulo's Neo Quimica Arena was suspended, after the health officials ran onto the pitch. The players walked off the field with the game at 0-0.

  • Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) said Argentina's English Premier League players Giovani Lo Celso, Emiliano Martine, Emiliano Buendia and Cristian Romero submitted "false information" when they entered the country, per AFP.
  • People arriving from abroad who had spent the previous 14 days in the United Kingdom are required to quarantine in Brazil.

What they're saying: Argentina Football Association officials said they had followed protocols set by FIFA, the sport's world governing body.

  • "Football should not experience these kinds of episodes that undermine the sportsmanship of such an important competition," the AFA said in a statement.
  • Argentina's captain Lionel Messi said on the Argentine TyC network: "We've been here for three days, why are you doing this just now?"
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