Why the agreement that characterizes football in the event of a pandemic did not apply to Argentines – 06/06/2021

Why the agreement that characterizes football in the event of a pandemic did not apply to Argentines - 06/06/2021

The Argentine Football Association, CONMEBOL and the Argentine Football Association have calmed about the entry of Argentines who play in England to Brazil based on an agreement the Confederation of America concluded with the government last year, which eases health requirements for delegations from football during the pandemic. . The problem is that the latest decree does not make exceptions for travelers from the United Kingdom, which has canceled part of this agreement.

The match between Brazil and Argentina, in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, was interrupted five minutes after the first half, this Sunday (5), after representatives of Anvisa (the national health monitoring agency) entered the stadium to demand that the four athletes be withdrawn from the match. Argentines (Emiliano Martinez, Christian Romero, Giovanni Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia), who, according to the agency, failed to comply with the health criteria to combat COVID-19 when entering Brazil.

In July 2020, the CONMEBOL administration met with representatives of the ministries of health of the ten affiliated countries. And the entity’s protocol for the return of football, which had been suspended since March due to the epidemic, was submitted, with a request to create an exception in the health requirements of each site for the entry of delegations of clubs and national teams.

At the time, for example, Argentina banned any foreigner from entering its territory and an agreement was needed to make this more flexible. At the end of August, as I explain in the column, CONMEBOL had the endorsement of the ten governments for its protocol and flexibility agreement, documented by statements sent from each ministry.

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The Libertadores and the Sud Americana returned in September, and in October there were already clashes in the qualifiers. The protocol specifies that a delegation can only stay in the country they will be entering for up to 72 hours, with everyone in the delegation tested negative for covid-19 and, if someone is infected, immediately isolated. But it eliminates any kind of quarantine required when entering the country.

change the rule
So far, a specific provision in Article 3 of government decrees setting restrictions on access to the country due to COVID-19 has been used to allow delegations to enter Brazil. The text states that the ban does not apply to “foreign professionals on a mission who serve an international organization, as long as their identity has been established.” Legally speaking, this section has been used since September 2020 to exclude all clubs that traveled to Brazil to play the Libertadores, Sud Americana and in the Copa America organized by Brazil between June and July of this year.

The problem is that Ordinance No. 655 of June 23, 2021, which set a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from the UK, South Africa and India, contains a clause that ends this exception, and Anvisa used it to try to banish the four Argentine players who play in England from the country.

Subsection 6.2 of Article 7 states that “a traveler who fulfills the provisions of Article 3, whose origin or date of passage through the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India in the past fourteen days upon its entry into Brazilian territory, shall remain in Quarantine for fourteen days. In other words, there is no exception for those coming from England.

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The column found that there was anger at the leadership of CONMEBOL and the AFC with the Brazilian Football Confederation, which did not anticipate this problem. They believe that if there was a demand last week, even with the new decision in the decree, a legal loophole may have been found to make the entry of the four players more flexible.

The situation was further complicated by the failure to visit England in the documents required by Anvisa presented by the Argentines that characterize the fraud. This is one of the points that remains unexplained in the case: Were there instructions to Argentina not to include this information in the papers that were handed over to customs? who who?

Another issue that still needs elaboration is why it took Anvisa some time to call the police to get the Argentines out of the country, which ended up just as the game went on.

The case will now be referred to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee. The match can be rescheduled, but scheduling it is difficult. Or the International Federation, which organizes the qualifiers (CONMEBOL does only the operational part), can decide the winner for each WO. Argentina left the match when Anfisa’s representatives tried to remove the athletes from the stadium, but the Brazilian Confederation was responsible for making the match go smoothly. There is no date for a decision.

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