Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa sought the immediate isolation of four Argentina footballers on Sunday, hours before the Copa America champions were due to face Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo.
Anvisa said the players should have quarantined on arrival because they had spent time in the United Kingdom over the previous 14 days.
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Although it did not name the four, the players with English Premier League clubs are Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur.
“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.
The Argentina squad flew into Brazil on Friday, the day after beating Venezuela 3-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Caracas.
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.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni will face Brazil without four players due to COVID-19 regulations. Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Anvisa were tipped off the four players did not state that information on their immigration forms and on Sunday said they confirmed the details given were “false.”
The confusion came just hours before the two archrivals were scheduled to face off at the Corinthians arena in a World Cup qualifier.
Spokespeople for both the Argentine team and CONMEBOL — the South American Football Confederation — did not respond to requests for comment.
However, Argentine TV channel Todo Noticias said the four travelled on the team bus to the stadium ahead of kick off.