Latin American football is known for its flamboyance.
The classic Latin American brand of football incorporates artistry with the game’s fundamentals to make it even more enticing to watch.
On the flip side of the coin, however, Latin American football has earned notoriety for controversial refereeing, violent ultras, and corruption.
On September 6, football fans from all around the globe got to see how bizarre football can get in Latin America.
Brazil and Argentina locked horns in the World Cup qualifiers in Sao Paulo.
Ten minutes into the game, Brazilian health officials walked into the pitch and halted the match.
According to them, four Argentina players didn’t disclose that they arrived in the country from the UK and breached Brazil’s coronavirus containment regulations.
Then, the health officials asked the Argentina team to play the rest of the match without those four players.
Lionel Messi, the Argentina captain, declined the proposal and decided to leave the stadium.
As a result, the match was canceled, and the Argentina squad immediately left Brazil, fearing further legal complications.
What Does Argentina Say?
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) is hopeful of receiving all three points since the Argentina team had nothing to do with the cancellation of the match.
Messi was heard arguing in the pitch that they had arrived three days earlier in Sao Paulo, so why no action was taken against them earlier?
The Argentina camp is convinced that the hosts should be penalized for the incident.
Argentina have also refuted claims that the players falsified their recent travel history.
Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso, Emiliano Buendia, and Emi Martinez play for Premier League sides Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
So, it seems peculiar that it took that long for the Brazilian authorities to figure out that those players came from the UK.
What Does Brazil Say?
The Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) has apologized for the fiasco, but the organization says it had no power to avoid the situation.
The decision came from the higher ranks of the Brazilian government.
CBF also claims that it had an understanding with the government to let Argentina’s Premier League stars play.
But, the health ministry felt it necessary to intervene.
What Does FIFA And CONMEBOL Say?
The South American football regulatory body issued an immediate statement after the incident.
It disapproved of the Brazilian authority’s actions since the players were part of a bio-safety bubble.
CONMEBOL clearly stated that it doesn’t support the cancellation of the match, which indicates it’s in favor of penalizing the hosts.
FIFA also disclosed its regrets regarding the matter and launched an investigation.
It’s currently reviewing the match official’s reports.
According to various reports, both teams will face punishments, but Argentina will likely be rewarded with all three points.
Argentina, however, have sent Romero, Lo Celso, Martinez, and Buendia back to England.
So, they will not be involved in La Albiceleste’s face off with Bolivia on Friday.