Shropshire Star

Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow: World Cup qualifier fiasco 'a mess'

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has labelled the World Cup qualifying fiasco surrounding Emi Martinez and Emiliano Buendia 'a mess' - and believes it could make clubs nervous about releasing players in future international breaks.


Villa allowed special dispensation for the Argentine duo to travel for their nation's qualifiers against Venezuela and Brazil, with the players agreeing to miss the third game of the international break against Bolivia so that they each only missed one game for Dean Smith's side upon their return.

However, chaos broke loose in the highly anticipated clash with Brazil, as the game was suspended after kick-off after health authorities in Brazil said that the UK-based players involved for Argentina had broken quarantine rules.

Brazil's quarantine rules state that visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Argentina had four UK-based players in their full squad, with Buendia and Martinez joined by Spurs duo Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero.

Both Villa players have now travelled to Croatia ahead of their return to the UK.

Purslow slammed the scenes on show during the clash with Brazil, and claimed it was 'very damaging' to international football.

"It is a mess." Purslow said.

"What happened in Brazil on Sunday was one of the most extraordinary things I've seen watching football in all my life."

"I don't quite understand how it happened but it was very regrettable and very damaging to sport, when we had done everything we could to come to an amicable and sensible arrangement with the Argentine FA to enable our players to play in very important games."

Villa, along with other clubs will face the prospect of more issues next month, with more qualifying games due to take place then - whilst further fixtures are also set for November and after Christmas.

Purslow says that the situation seen over this past week will make clubs 'incredibly nervous' about allowing players to travel.

"We already have a significant congestion issue with World Cup qualifying games in South America so between now and October I really hope to see a sensible arrangement put in place because nobody wants to see a repeat of what happened." he said.

"That would make any reasonable club executive feel incredibly nervous about releasing players for overseas travel while we are in the midst of this crisis."