Two players test positive as football is set to resume


I-League Qualifiers, the first competitive sports event in India, begins on Oct. 8

Two players tested positive of COVID-19 as the city geared up to host the first competitive sports event in the country — the I-League Qualifiers — following the easing of lockdown.

A statement from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said that a player each from FC Bengaluru United and Bhawanipore FC have tested positive.

“All appropriate medical support is being given to the teams, and the players who tested positive are under medical supervision in a quarantined environment as required by the safety measures and COVID-19 protocols put in place for the tournament,” read the AIFF statement, which did not name the players.

More than 150 players, support staff and officials are put up at a five-star hotel near Salt Lake stadium which is one of the two venues for the tournament starting on October 8. The other venue is Kalyani which is on the outskirts.

This is the first official tournament to happen ever since the government allowed sports activities (under unlock 4.0) from Sept. 21. A total of five teams — Mohammedan Sporting, Bhawanipore FC (both Kolkata outfits), ARA FC (Ahmedabad), FC Bengaluru United and Garhwal FC (Delhi) — will be competing for the lone berth reserved for the tournament proper (I-League).

The AIFF has created a bio-bubble, a new mandate in the world of sports since the pandemic began early this year, and the participants have safely made it to the secured atmosphere in the hotel which has been closed to all ‘outsiders’.

Three out of the five teams started practising on Thursday to get in shape for the 12-day tournament which will see 10 matches played in a round-robin format. The Kalyani stadium will be hosting six matches and the Salt Lake stadium four.



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