Dean Smith revealed that Aston Villa found themselves in a situation where they could not win over the release of Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia for their World Cup qualifying. Both players are currently training in Croatia after the match between Brazil and Argentina was suspended. Health officials in Brazil objected to the fact that Tottenham duo Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero were allowed to play. The Argentina team walked off the pitch in Corinthians after officials stopped the game citing that the Argentina players had failed to quarantine. Both Martinez and Buendia are set to miss Villa’s Premier League game against Chelsea.
“It was a no-win situation all around. Each club had to come up with the best solution for themselves,” Aston Villa boss Dean Smith said. “Legally I don’t think we had any right to ban our players. It’s a World Cup, they have a right to choose whether they want to go and play for their countries or not.”
“I didn’t want them to travel but when I saw the passion they had we had to come up with a compromise for all parties,” he added. “We all had a predicament – players, club teams, national teams – on do we allow them to go across and play for their countries and potentially miss two or three games? We were all in a rock and a hard place. Once our players made it clear they had spoken to other players in Argentina and wanted to play we had to come to a compromise.”
“We managed to find that, they played the one game and they are quarantining now and back ready to play against Everton next week,” he concluded. “They are in Croatia, we spoke with the relevant authorities and government officials to make sure it was the right thing to do. They are training over there.”