FIFA confirmed on Friday that disciplinary proceedings have been opened into the football federations of Brazil and Argentina after a brawl delayed the start of a 2026 World Cup qualifying match.
During Tuesday’s match at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium, which saw Argentina secure a 1-0 victory, a brawl erupted among rival fans prior to the game’s start, resulting in a roughly thirty-minute delay.
The iconic stadium descended into chaos despite players’ attempts to intervene. Argentina’s captain, Lionel Messi, led his team back to the dressing room, only returning once the violence had subsided.
Law enforcement intervened using batons to control the melee, resulting in some fans sustaining injuries, including bloodied faces.
“FIFA can confirm that its Disciplinary Committee has initiated proceedings against the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) and the Argentinian Football Association (AFA),” stated the world football governing body.
Brazil potentially faces penalties for “possible breaches of article 17” of FIFA’s disciplinary code, which governs order and security during matches. Argentina, who caused Brazil’s first home defeat in World Cup qualifying, faces repercussions for the crowd disturbance and the delayed start.
Potential sanctions for both teams include fines and the possibility of hosting international home matches with either partial or complete closure of their stadium, the most common penalties.
Argentina leads the South American World Cup qualifying standings with 15 points from six games, while Brazil, experiencing their third qualifying defeat, stands in sixth place with seven points from six games.