As Untold predicted: Martinez and co in trouble for illegal entry and by-passing covid rules.

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Well!  I say again, “Well!!!”

Can you imagine what the reaction in the UK media would have been if the ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez had still played for Arsenal.  The world (and possibly half the solar system) would have come crashing down on Arsenal’s head.   Or what if Tottenham’s Cristian Romero had actually played for Arsenal.  I think Farcenal would have been on the cards for the headline.

The Daily Mail’s headline overnight, “Brazilian public health officials storm the pitch to DETAIN Premier League quartet playing for bitter rivals Argentina – with World Cup qualifier ABANDONED – amid claims the Tottenham and Aston Villa stars lied when entering the country” is fairly strong in itself, but if Arsenal had been involved – that would have merited a 10 page special pullout feature.

The ragingly anti-Arsenal Daily Mirror didn’t even mention the players or clubs in its headline, “BEDLAM IN BRAZIL! Officials storm World Cup qualifier and threaten four Argentina Premier League stars with deportation”

Was there another reason why Arsenal ditched Martinez and kept Leno? was our article headline, as we ran the story that Marintez three other players had not declared the obvious fact that they had been in the UK before entering Brazil.   And then this evening, the headline has popped up

Brazil v Argentina: World Cup qualifier abandoned as authorities try to deport four players

A quick flip onto Sky Sports News to get the latest and… they were not running the story.  Could that be because Sky didn’t have the rights to the game?  Presumably yes.  If it is not on Sky, then in terms of Sky, the story doesn’t exist, at least until over an hour after everyone else has the story – which is exactly how long it took them to pick up on the story.

And this on the same day as the game between Guinea and Morocco was abandoned because of a coup.  The Moroccan team had already arrived, it seems and there were some difficult negotiations before like naughty school children they were allowed to go home.  

Back with Argentina v Brazil officials rushed on the pitch, there was some arm waggling and then Argentina walked off the pitch.

The players went to the dressing room, although the two coaches, plus Lionel Messi (and it is a rule in football now that if something happens in football Messi has got involved) gathering on the touchlines to enjoy some lively debate and undoubtedly “banter”.

So what happens now to Martinez?  He is currently under arrest for breaching the regulations concerning entry into Brazil from England.  He could be held in quarantine, held in prison or simply put on a plane back to England.

But Brazil is a red list country for entry into England meaning the UK rule is quite simple, and I quote from the government’s website: “You should not travel to red list countries or territories.”  So in going to Brazil the player was in clear breach of UK rules.  As for getting back the rules say…

“What you must do if you have been in a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England. You must follow these rules even if you have been fully vaccinated.

When you arrive in England you must: quarantine in a managed hotel, including 2 COVID-19 tests”

Now I wonder if Martinez has such an arrogant view of regulations that they believe that no only does the “don’t go to Brazil” rule not apply to him, but that also the “you must quarantine” doesn’t apply to him either. 

And I wonder what Aston Villa make of it all.  They paid £20m for Martinez from Arsenal, and now it looks like he’s not going to be available for a while because of the actions he chose to take.  Perhaps they’ll just consider him, in the words of Monty Python, a very naughty boy.

But above all else, I think we can feel relieved that he’s no longer with Arsenal.  Otherwise, the media would have gone beserk.  Yet again.

Covid chaos in Brazil as health authorities storm the pitch to DETAIN Premier League quartet playing for Argentina DURING the match, amid claims they lied to officials when entering the country

  • Health officials invaded the pitch in Brazil’s World Cup qualifier versus Argentina
  • They sought to detain Tottenham ‘s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso 
  • Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia were also asked to be detained
  • All four players were accused of breaching Brazil’s Covid quarantine protocols


10 Replies to “As Untold predicted: Martinez and co in trouble for illegal entry and by-passing covid rules.”

  1. It doesn’t matter what happened in Brazil, the players would have to go into quarantine when they got back to England anyway. The clubs knew that from the outset. I’m not sure what you are trying to say, its a confused piece of writing. A more interesting question would be why the Brazilian health officials waited until the match had actually started to intervene when they could have acted much earlier.

  2. I notice a lot of arsenal fans have an issue with Martinez at the moment. Maybe because he was asked in an interview why he left Argentina at 17. How he was not supposed to mention arsenal, I’m not sure. But if you read the article, its actually not about his time at arsenal at all despite the sensationalist headlines and various ‘hilarious’ Twitter memes.

    Clearly this situation is a monumental fuck up. But to say that arsenal are better off without him, I’d have a quick look at the table first…

  3. @ jod

    So if, as you say, “the clubs knew from the outset, these means they must have also been aware that to play in the game the players would have to lie and breach Brazilian law. I’m not sure why that’s such a positive thing.

    In any event, it’s quite clear what the article is saying. Martinez and three other players are untrustworthy and have a disregard for the law/authority and hence there may have been more to Martinez leaving Arsenal than meets the eye.

    I do agree that it’s an interesting question why officials waited until the match had started. Whether that’s “more interesting” than four premier league footballers breaking the law in the way they did is questionable.

  4. Indeed James, we’ve been watching the table ever since he left Arsenal. Villa ended up lower than Arsenal, Villa conceded more goals than Arsenal. He had every right to say he would not re-sign in order to stay as backup and wait for Leno to leave, but that doesn’t make him a better keeper than Leno.

  5. The question I’d ask, like in any police inquiry : who benefits from the crime ?
    This was a world cup qualifier. Were Brasil missing some important players ? Were they scared of losing the game because they were not ready ?
    Or was Argentina not ready and missing some players, and they organised this – a bundle of dollar bills can make some officials take a speedy route to intervene, don’t you think this is possible ?
    I mean the guys came to Brasil and were let in…it is not like they came in a secret mission and nobody knew about it.
    They boarded a plane to go there. This was organised by a federation, agreed upon by their respective clubs and not some kind of hunch thing : oh, I wann play the Brasil qualifier, why don’t I just check if I can get a ticket online to fly down there.
    This a few days after Ms Kidmann flies into Hongkong on a filme set without having to go through quarantaine…why would it be so impossible to consider such a ‘workaround’ not possible from their perspective ?
    I cannot believe the players went there without some assurances that all was taken care of, that the clubs let them go being informed seriously, etc.

    The players, IMHO were pawns, were set-up. And now they look like the idiots and will be the only ones to bear consequences.

    We need not forget that this is FIFA in charge. Can they really be trusted ? And can the national federations be trusted ? Can you trust the FA ?

    As far as Martinez, he was a good goalkeeper for Arsenal, won us an FA cup and decided to have a Nr 1 spot in another club that maybe has not the same team quality as Arsenal ? So I keep my positive opinion of his time at Arsenal.

  6. My biggest surprise is that this wasn’t sorted out ahead of time in the traditional Argentinian way (a bag of US dollars changing hands). The moral of the story is however…when entering another country pay close attention as to how you fill in the point of entry declaration form. If the U.K. based Argentinian players had completed the forms truthfully there would not have been an issue.

  7. This could have been organised by either team, or CONMEBAL, or by FIFA…on the other hand national bureacracicies don’t always move that quickly, so maybe it was just SNAFU.

    As for Martinez…maybe he was trying to be a sneak, maybe he had bad advice, maybe he was ignorant…despite all that, he was a good servant of the club. His poor judgement on COVID and potential health risks to his fellow humans makes him exactly as culpable as any one else doing this but doesn’t make him in retrospect a poor Arsenal player.

  8. Whether Martinez was the better keeper of the two is a moot point . Personally I thought his style was a better fit for the current Arsenal defence , where Leno may be more spectacular Martinez was a better organiser and more positive and seemed to give confidence to the other players.

    The question of why they waited for the players to be on the pitch will likely turn out to be political . It’ was on T.V . It was Argentina and Bolsinaro needed support from a population giving him a hard time over Covid.

    I read that the Argentians have left the country so it remains to be seen whether when they return to this country the ten day isolation is enforced.

  9. Don’t forget that FIFA were very recently trying to pressure Boris to change the quarantine rules for footballers playing international matches.

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