SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian health officials accused four Argentine soccer players of violating quarantine rules on Saturday and opened an investigation that could lead to their exclusion from this week’s World Cup qualifier against Brazil and Argentina.
The Argentine national team traveled to Brazil, Friday, one day after beating Venezuela 3-1 in qualifying in Caracas.
Among those invited to Sunday’s match at Corinthians are four players from England, Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, and the pair Giovanni Lo Celso and Christian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur.
The National Health Monitoring Agency (Anvisa) said that, with few exceptions, foreigners were denied entry to Brazil from Great Britain, Northern Ireland, South Africa or India.
Those receiving exemptions must notify authorities upon arrival and spend 14 days in quarantine.
“The players concerned, who arrived in Brazil on a flight from Caracas (Venezuela) to Guarulhos, announced that they had not spent time in any of the four countries with restrictions in the last 14 days,” Anfisa said in a statement.
In a separate statement, the São Paulo State Department of Health said that “an epidemiological and sanitary investigation has begun.”
The UOL portal reported that if the four players do not submit documents proving that they are exempt from quarantine, they may be banned from playing on Sunday.
Brazil leads the South American qualifiers for the Qatar Cup, 6 points behind second-placed Argentina. The top four automatically qualify for the World Cup.
(Reporting by Andrew Downey)