🇧🇷 Health agency explains suspension of Brazil-Argentina qualifier

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OneFootball

Seamus Leonard

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Brazil’s national health surveillance agency (ANVISA) has moved to clarify their actions on Sunday that led to the suspension of the World Cup qualifier between the Selecão and Argentina.

Chaos reigned at the Arena Neo Química in São Paulo when local health officials walked on to the field of play to stop the game after four Premier-League based Argentine players alleged lied on their entry into the country three days ago.

The players understood to be involved are Tottenham duo Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso and Aston Villa pair Emiliano Martínez and Emiliano Buendía.

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In a statement released on Sunday night, ANVISA said that the quartet had “unequivocally failed to comply with Interministerial Ordinance No. 655, of 2021, which establishes that foreign travelers who have passed through the United Kingdom, South Africa, Northern Ireland and India in the last 14 days are prevented from entering Brazil.

“This Sunday morning, Anvisa called the Federal Police so that measures within the scope of the police authority were adopted immediately.

“In the exercise of its legal mission, Anvisa has pursued, from the outset, compliance with Brazilian legislation, which, in this case, was restricted to the segregation of the four players involved and the adoption of the corresponding sanitary measures.

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“From the moment it became aware of the irregular situation of the players – on the same day of the delegation’s arrival – Anvisa communicated the fact to the Brazilian health authorities, through CIEVS – the Strategic Health Surveillance Information Center.

“By virtue of this communication, even on Saturday afternoon, it took place the meeting referred to above involving the Ministry of Health, state board of health São Paulo, CONMEBOL representatives, CBF and the delegation Argentinian delegation. At that meeting, Anvisa, together with the local health authority, determined, during the course of the meeting, the quarantine of players.

“It should be clarified that players entered Brazil at 8am on 3 September, providing false information. On the same day, Anvisa identified that the information was false and even on the night of 3 September, Anvisa notified the CIEVS, updated the Health authorities (Ministry of Health and the Health Department of São Paulo).

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“On 4 September, at 5 pm, a meeting was held with the institutions involved, in which Anvisa and the São Paulo health authority informed the quarantine contingency. However, even after the meeting and communication from the authorities, the players participated in Saturday night training.

“This Sunday morning, Anvisa notified the Federal Police, and until the beginning of the game, it made efforts, with police support, to enforce the quarantine measure imposed on players, their immediate segregation and transportation to the airport. Attempts were frustrated, since the departure of the delegation from the hotel, and even for a considerable time before the start of the game, when Anvisa had its performance postponed already in the facilities of the Itaquera arena.

“Anvisa’s action, in short, was limited to seeking compliance with Brazilian laws, which would be limited to the segregation of players and their respective fines.

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“The decision to interrupt the game was never, in this case, within the Agency’s competence. However, the selection of players who did not comply with Brazilian laws and the country’s health regulations, and even provided false information to the authorities, this, yes, required the action of the State Agency, in time and manner.”

There will no doubt be many more official statements to come in relation to this extraordinary and controversial event.