Sao Paulo (AFP)

Sports authorities in Brazil and Argentina intend to make the September qualifiers for the World Cup in Qatar "test events" to consider allowing the public to return to the stadiums.

The match between Brazil and Argentina counting for the qualifications of the South America zone of the World Cup-2022, scheduled for September 5 in Sao Paulo, should be able to be held in front of 12,000 spectators, the Secretary of State for Sports said on Tuesday. of the State of Sao Paulo in a press release.

In Argentina, it is the reception of Bolivia on September 9 that can be played with a gauge of 30%, or about 20,000 spectators in the Monumental stadium of Buenos Aires.

The Monumental Stadium, before the group match of the Copa Libertadores, played behind closed doors, between River Plate and Sao Paulo, on September 30, 2020 in Avallaneda, Buenos Aires Marcelo Endelli POOL / AFP / Archives

The pilot experience "will make it possible to assess how the protocols will be implemented", with a view to organizing a gradual return to the stadiums for the local championships, said Argentinian Minister of Tourism and Sports Matias Lammens at the meeting. 'a press conference.

The matches have been played behind closed doors across the country for 15 months.

In Brazil, the possible reunion between Lionel Messi and Neymar, who are now teammates at Paris Saint-Germain, will serve as a "test event" in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and to encourage vaccination.

"Only fans who have presented a negative test carried out less than 48 hours before the match will be allowed in the stadium. After the match, all spectators will be followed and accompanied for fifteen days," it added in the statement.

This will be the first South American "clásico" since the victory of Messi's Argentina against Neymar's Brazil in the final of the last Copa América, in July, behind closed doors in the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro (1-0 ).

Argentine strikers Lionel Messi and Brazilian Neymar during the Copa America final on July 10, 2021 at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro MAURO PIMENTEL AFP / Archives

It will also be the first football match in the presence of an audience for a year and a half in Sao Paulo.

However, great uncertainty hangs over the holding of these qualifying matches.

On Tuesday, the English clubs decided not to let some of their foreign players play the international matches in September in countries at high risk of Covid-19 contamination, to avoid them ten days of quarantine imposed on their return by the English government.

The measure affects around 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs who were due to travel to 26 countries.

Brazil and Argentina are on the red list of the British authorities and the rules currently in force stipulate that any person returning from one of these countries must imperatively isolate themselves for ten days in a hotel chosen by the government, regardless of their location. vaccination status.

Brazil would thus be deprived of potential holders such as Allison, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Thiago Silva (Chelsea) or Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho (Manchester City), or even Richarlison (Everton).

Chelse defender Brazilian Thiago Silva tries to control the ball in front of Manchester City striker his compatriot Gabriel Jesus during their Premier League match on April 17, 2021 at Wembley Stadium in London Adam Davy POOL / AFP / Archives

Argentina would be deprived of its Spurs: Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham).

With already more than 931,000 cases and 36,770 deaths recorded by the health authorities, Sao Paulo, which has 12 million inhabitants, is the Brazilian metropolis most affected by the coronavirus.

Local authorities in Sao Paulo have also kept the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix on the Interlagos circuit (November 5-7) on the calendar, and set the gauge at around 60,000 spectators.

© 2021 AFP

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