Brazil’s glamorous international friendly against Argentina, scheduled for Melbourne next month, has been cancelled.
- Event organizers have been informed that Argentina is no longer prepared to travel to Australia
- Over 95,000 fans turned out the last time the two sides met at the MCG
- FIFA has ruled that the two teams have yet to play in the tie, which was suspended in September.
The June 11 match at the MCG had been planned as part of Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup later this year, but event organizers and the Brazilian federation announced that the game is canceled because South American champions Argentina will not will travel.
“Regrettably, the event organizers were informed [that] Contrary to its prior agreement and commitment to do so, Argentina is no longer prepared to travel to Australia for the match against Brazil,” the organizers said in a statement.
The last time the South American giants played a ‘Superclásico’ at the MCG five years ago, more than 95,000 fans turned out to watch Argentine legend Lionel Messi bow.
Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said he was “very upset” by the decision after nearly 60,000 tickets had already been sold.
“I think they owe the Australian fans an explanation,” he said.
“I would be very wary of a football association that simply breaks the contract.”
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) confirmed the news of the cancellation at a press conference on Wednesday morning, saying that the decision was made by the Argentine federation.
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has not commented on the matter.
The cancellation follows a decision by FIFA on Monday that the two teams would still have to play their tie, which was suspended in September shortly after kickoff and was never completed as authorities complained about Argentine players violating COVID-19 protocols. .
FIFA wants the game to be played in September, a few months before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, but none of the teams, which automatically qualified at the top of their South American group, have committed to playing it.
Juninho Paulista, coordinator of the Brazilian team, said at the press conference: “A statement has arrived from the AFA, officially, and they have informed us of this decision.
“We were prepared and with all the logistics ready for this game because we understood that we had to fulfill the contract”, added Paulista.
Organizers now say they are “working with key match-related stakeholders to review all options for the game and provide more updates as soon as possible.”
Ticket holders will be eligible for refunds with details of the process to be provided shortly, the organizers added.