FIFA are looking into the Brazil and Argentina match which was suspended after health officials entered the pitch in a row over Covid rules; Sky Sports News has been told Aston VIlla's Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia will fly to Croatia to train before returning to England
Monday 6 September 2021 17:58, UK
Aston Villa duo Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia are planning on flying back to Europe on Monday following the controversial suspension of Argentina's World Cup qualifier with Brazil in Sao Paulo.
Martinez started the game in goal and was one of four Premier League-based players who were accused of not following strict Covid protocols upon entering Brazil with the Argentina national team.
As agreed with Villa, Martinez and Buendia were available for selection for the first two matches of the international break for Argentina, against Venezuela and Brazil.
The pair will miss Argentina's third game against Bolivia in the early hours of Friday morning UK time.
Sky Sports News has been told Martinez and Buendia will fly to Croatia rather than the UK, so they can continue training before returning to England for their club.
A trip straight back to the UK from South America would have meant 10 days in government hotel quarantine but stopping off for that period in a green list country means they can train and then travel back to the UK without quarantining.
It means Martinez and Buendia may only miss one Premier League game against Chelsea before being back in the country for Aston Villa's game with Everton on September 18.
FIFA have confirmed they will analyse match reports after Brazilian health officials entered the pitch in a row over Covid rules, resulting in the suspension of the World Cup qualifier.
- 6pm: Brazil's health regulator Anvisa seeks the immediate isolation of four Argentina players just hours before they are due to face Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo.
- 8pm: Brazil vs Argentina kicks-off as planned.
- 8:06pm: Play is halted as health officials walk onto the pitch to seemingly try and remove Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham from the pitch.
- 8:11pm: The game is suspended as Argentina players head back to the dressing room.
- 8:18pm: Lionel Messi appears to try and negotiate with the authorities but his team-mates remain in the dressing room.
- 8.40pm: Reports suggest a bus is en route to escort the Argentina team away from the stadium.
- 8:50pm: The game is abandoned.
Under Brazilian rules, visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Although Anvisa did not name the four, the players with Premier League clubs are Buendia and Martinez, as well as Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham.
Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero were named in Argentina's starting line-up, while Buendia did not make the squad.
The officials marched onto the field shortly after kick-off and confronted the Argentina players, who left the field while the two managers - along with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazil's players - gathered to discuss the stoppage.
The South American football confederation CONMEBOL later confirmed the game - which was 0-0 when it was stopped - had been called off by the referee.
A FIFA spokesperson said: "FIFA regrets the scenes preceding the suspension of the match between Brazil and Argentina for the CONMEBOL qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup 2022 which prevented millions of fans from enjoying a match between two of the most important football nations in the world.
"The first match official reports have been sent to FIFA. This information will be analysed by the competent disciplinary bodies and a decision will be taken in due course."
Anvisa had sought the immediate isolation of the four players just hours before the game in Sao Paulo.
"Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil," Anvisa said in a statement ahead of kick-off.
The Argentine squad flew into Brazil on Friday, the day after beating Venezuela 3-1 in a World Cup Qualifier in Caracas.
Anvisa were tipped off the four players did not state they had been in the UK within the last two weeks on their immigration forms. The health regulator confirmed the details the players gave were "false".
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) expressed its "deep discomfort" at the suspension of the match.
It said the team had been in Brazil since September 3 and had complied with all the health protocols.
"Football should not experience these kinds of episodes that undermine the sportsmanship of such an important competition," the AFA said in a statement.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said it "deeply regrets" the events that ended up causing the suspension and insisted Anvisa "could have exercised its activity in a much more appropriate manner in the various moments and days prior to the match".
It added: "The CBF also emphasizes that at no time, through the interim president, Ednaldo Rodrigues, or its directors, interfered in any point related to the sanitary protocol established by the Brazilian authorities for the entry of people into the country.
"The role of the CBF was always in an attempt to promote understanding between the entities involved so that the sanitary protocols could be fulfilled satisfactorily and the game could be played."