The world of football, on Sunday night witnessed another horrific sight that tarnished the image of the game in what was an obviously avoidable incident in the World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina.
The game was disrupted in the sixth minute when Brazilian health officias entered into the picth to prevent four Argentina players from continuing with the match amid reports that they had broken the country's COVID-19 rules. This led to the Argentina players walking off the pitch in protest. Who wouldn't do the same?
Aston Villa's duo of Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia (who didn't make the squad) along with Tottenham's Giovanni Le Coelso and Cristian Romero, should have according to the Brazil health officials, been in isolation, instead of taking part in the match.
This is due to the fact that, just like Brazil is on the red list of the UK on COVID-19, so is the UK on Brazil's. This means that, any player who has been in the UK in the last 14 days coming into Brazil must isolate for 14 days.
It will also be recalled that there is still an ongoing issue where FIFA is considering banning some Brazilian players whose clubs refused to release them for this international break. The Brazilian national team were missing nine regular players who were not released by their clubs for the break, citing the fact that they would have to isolate on their return, subsequently meaning they won't be available for selection for league games.
With all of these background information, it continues to beg for answers whether this was an avoidable debacle had all parties unified thoughts.
On Brazil's part
First off, the list of Argentina players who would travel and execute the Brazil match was obviously released, what actions did the Brazilian authorities take at that point?
It is also claimed that the Argentina players did not disclose on their forms that they had been in the UK in the last 14 days. These are players who ply their trades in the UK, was there supposed to be a "special notification" for the authorities to know that these players had been in the UK in the last 14 days, when the international break started barely a week ago and these players were still at their respective clubs?
The action of the Brazilian authorities could also make critics believe that this action was further instigated by their inability to have nine of their regular players for the match and the fear of the potential ending of their unbeaten streak at home.
The Argentina team traveled, passed the airport, to the hotel, started the game... Nothing was done all these while, until after the game had started? Shame!
They cannot feign ignorance of Brazil's rules on COVID-19 ad quarantine. What happened with reasoning with the authorities on how to resolve this, knowing the rules wouldn't have allowed them field some players?
If truly the players gave false information. On their form, it's a spite on their integrity as well.
Holding the Copa America this year was utterly a bad decision. Knowing how packed the FIFA breaks this period are, the summer was the best time for them to have held this world cup qualifiers for South America.
As a matter of factly, the players unanimously mentioned this and they stated that they participated at the 2021 Copa America in protest, because they felt that window should have been better utilized, than for a tournament that has began to lose its value due to its frequently reoccurring nature. I don't think there's any major tournament that has held as frequently than the Copa America in recent years.
For the tournament, CONMEBOL worked with Brazil to grant waivers to the quarantine rules to allow players feature for their countries. What would it have cost them to do same for these fixtures, knowing that these players have limited time between the break and getting back to their clubs?
One would never have thought in many years to come that a day would come when we would witness such show of shame in this beautiful game.
With the match abandoned, its now even more herculean to reschedule this fixture. The international break in October is already fixed with a three-header window.
It will also be too great of an injustice were three points to be awarded to Brazil, as this purely looks like the fault of all the authorities concerned and making the players pay for it will be unspeakable.
We can only await the investigate been carried out by FIIFA and hope that the recurrence of this show of disaster is nipped in the bud.