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The World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina has been postponed

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Brazil’s home World Cup qualifier against Argentina was called off on Sunday after four visiting team players were accused of violating COVID-19 standards.

Seven minutes after kickoff, officials from Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa walked onto the Corinthians Arena pitch and ordered the game to be suspended. Premier League players Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero, and Emiliano Buendia, according to the government agency, failed to comply with travel entrance restrictions.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, new rules restrict non-Brazilians from entering the nation if they have been through the United Kingdom, South Africa, Northern Ireland, or India in the previous 14 days. Anvisa accused the players of supplying fraudulent information on immigration documents and ordered them to self-isolate immediately in a statement issued hours before the match. “Anvisa considers the scenario to be a major health concern and has instructed local health authorities to determine the urgent quarantine of players, who are barred from engaging in any activity and should not remain on Brazilian territory,” the agency stated.

Martinez, Lo Celso, and Romero were on the field when the game was called off, while Buendia sat in the stands, having been left out of Argentina’s matchday roster.

After play was halted, players and coaches from both sides, including Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Brazil star Neymar, spoke at length with Anvisa authorities. Messi was heard asking why the game was allowed to begin if authorities were already aware of the protocol violation.

Most of his teammates were already in the locker rooms at that point, and the game was formally called off about an hour later. Brazil’s players stayed on the field the entire time and afterwards participated in an impromptu training session. It was unclear whether the qualifier would be rescheduled.

“The referee and match official will submit a report to the FIFA disciplinary committee, which will decide what steps to take,” said the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) in a statement. Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni mirrored Messi’s concerns, questioning why officials chose to wait until the game began before intervening. Argentina touched down in Brazil on Friday.

“It saddens me greatly. I’m not seeking for anyone. Regardless of whether or not there was any misconduct, this was not the time to intervene “Scaloni explained. “It should have been a game that everyone could enjoy, a chance to see the top players in the world.” I want the people of Argentina to understand that it is my responsibility as a coach to defend my players.

“We were never informed that they would be unable to play the match.” We wanted to play the game, as did the Brazilian players.”

Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, denied that the Albiceleste had willfully violated Brazil’s health regulations.

“You can’t talk about someone lying because all South American [football] competitions are played under health legislation,” he told reporters. “Each country’s health authorities approved a protocol, which we have strictly followed.” What occurred today is a travesty for football.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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SAFF championship’s amended timetable with changes has been announced.

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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), football tournament SAFF championship’s first match between Maldives and Nepal has been rescheduled to go on at night time, after the opening ceremony.

The schedule for the championship has been changed twice before as well. When the schedule has first released the dates given were from 1st-13th. But after review, the schedule was changed to abide by FIFA match day policies, giving enough days in between for the players to rest.

The government’s senior employees will be attending the opening ceremony event. The Maldives has previously won twice in this competition, which was in 2008 playing in Sri Lanka and in 2018 playing in Bangladesh. Both tournaments were won playing against India. The Maldives remains to be the competition defending champions, so the slogan for this year’s championship is “Thinvanah faharu miee ey faharu” which translates to “Third time is our chance”, aiming to win the championship cup for the third time.

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Bank of Maldives has renewed their sponsorship given to Maldives National Football Team.

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Bank of Maldives (BML) has renewed their official sponsorship agreement given to Maldives national football teams.

BML has informed that just as before, the agreement will state that BML is the exclusive sponsor for National Senior men’s football team, National Senior women’s football team, and the National Youth football team.

BML’s CEO and managing director Tim Soya shared his joy in renewing the partnership during a time where the love of football and the excitement for the sports is increasing. Tim further stated that BML gives utmost importance to be a part of the successes that the national football teams gain in international competitions and wants to spread the skill of playing football to generations of Maldivians. Tim stated that he has high hopes that Maldives will win in the upcoming SAFF Championship.

Football Association of Maldives’s (FAM) president Bassam stated that he is very proud that BML has extended the agreement and renewed it. Since 2017, BML has been the official sponsor of Maldivian national football teams.  And they will remain to be the official exclusive sponsor in the upcoming SAFF championship 2021 as well.

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Pele is no longer in intensive care

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Pele, the legendary Brazilian footballer, has been transferred out of intensive care 10 days after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his colon, according to the hospital where he is being treated.

According to a statement made by Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital, the 80-year-old will continue his recovery in a general room. It didn’t specify when he might be released.

Pele took to social media to thank supporters for their support and assure them that he is “ready to play 90 minutes.”

“Don’t believe for a second that I haven’t seen the thousands of beautiful comments I’ve received around here,” the three-time World Cup champion posted on Instagram.

“Thank you so much to everyone who took a minute out of their day to send me happy vibes. Love, love, and more love!”

Pele has struggled with a number of health issues in recent years, including complications after hip replacement surgery, as well as kidney and prostate issues.

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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