FIFA held the four Argentina’s Premier League players, who were accused of flouting COVID-19 protocols and lying to authorities, to a two-match ban and fined the Brazilian Football Association. The two teams, Brazil and Argentina, will replay their World Cup qualifier game, which was abandoned after health officials stormed the field to question the quarantine status of players.
The Argentine players – Emiliano Buendía, Emiliano Martínez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero – are serving the fines for “not complying with the FIFA Return to Football International Match Protocol,” the world governing body said. They had falsified Brazilian coronavirus declarations by not stating they had been in red-listed Britain in the previous 14 days.
FIFA ordered the Brazilian Football Association to pay a fine of 550,000 Swiss francs (about $600,000) for “infringements related to order and security”, and over the abandonment.
The Argentinian Football Association was fined 250,000 Swiss francs ($270,000) for failing to “comply with its obligations in relation to order and security, the preparation of and its participation in the match”, and the abandonment.
FIFA, however, has not set a date or location for the game. The two sides have already sealed a place at the World Cup in Qatar in November ahead of the scheduled conclusion of CONMEBOL qualifying in March. They have two more games to play.
After the game was abandoned, Brazil’s Federal Police opened a formal investigation. “We can confirm an investigation has begun into the possible crime of supplying false information,” a spokesperson said.
“Yesterday, the players were notified they must leave the country, which is the regular procedure, and statements from them were taken.”
With inputs from the Associated Press