FIFA agrees to cancel Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier
The FIFA logo is pictured on the occasion the FIFA Council meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 10. 2017. FIFA will expand the World Cup to 48 teams, adding 16 extra nations to the 2026 tournament which is likely to be held in North America. President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 by the FIFA Council. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)

SAO PAULO (AP) — The suspended World Cup qualifying game between Brazil and Argentina will not be played, the two countries’ governing soccer bodies said Tuesday after reaching a deal with FIFA to cancel the match.

Both teams agreed to pay a fine for not playing the qualifier, which was stopped shortly after kickoff last September when Brazilian health officials entered the field saying four Argentina players had broken COVID-19 protocols. FIFA had wanted the match to be played next month, even though it had been rendered essentially meaningless after both Brazil and Argentina qualified for the World Cup in Qatar despite playing a game less than other South American countries.

FIFA initially fined the soccer bodies of both countries and demanded the match be played. Brazil’s confederation and Argentina’s federation took the case to the Court for Arbitration of Sport, where all three parties agreed to the deal to cancel the game.

Brazil coach Tite and his Argentina counterpart Lionel Scaloni had argued that the risks of injuries and suspensions were too high for the game to be played ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

The decision leaves both teams free to schedule September friendlies against different opponents instead.

In Qatar, Brazil is in Group G with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon. Argentina is in Group C with Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

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