The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina on Sunday turned out to be very controversial and ended in chaos. Officials of ANVISA invaded the pitch at the 6th minute of the game to detain and deport the Argentine trio of Emiliano Martinez, Giovanni Lo Celso and Christian Romero. The 3 England-based footballers were accused of lying to the health officials over their travel history.
While the chaos ensued, many of the parties were angry that the match descended into such chaos. Argentine Coach, Lionel Scaloni; Brazilian coach, Tité, and Argentine captain, Lionel Messi all had strong words for the ANVISA officials who invaded the pitch. But could the health officials have been working under the orders of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF)? The deductions from the match point to a likely agreement between CBF and ANVISA that led to the outcome of the suspended match.
First, the Argentine players and team had been approached before the match to discuss the issue of the England-based players and their presence in the team. After lengthy conversations, ANVISA officials allowed the team along with Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovanni Lo Celso and Christian Romero to travel to the Arena Corinthians for the match.
The ANVISA officials could have refused for the players to proceed, deport them immediately and allow the others to continue. But it is curious why they allowed the Argentine national team along with the English Premier League players to leave in the first place to play the match. This can be suspected that the interruption during the match was planned.
Secondly, ANVISA could have come to the Stadium to arrest the players before the match or wait till half-time or tell the referees to stop the match. Invading the pitch while the match was going on would only have one effect and that is abandoning or suspending the match. With Brazil missing up to 9 senior players due to the Covid-19 regulations, the Argentine had a stronger team and could have won the match. So it was in Brazil's favour that the match was suspended.
Thirdly, the Brazilian Football Confederation did not do anything to stop the health authorities from interrupting the match. Despite the tensions, the CBF was suspiciously absent and could not control the match or the Stadium. This can be deduced to mean that the CBF either knew about ANVISA actions or at least, they were supporting it.