I-League Suspended for Six Weeks after Covid Surge in the Bio-Bubble

Photo Credit: India Today

All India Football Federation on Monday announced their decision on postponing the I-League by at least six weeks following the fresh Covid surge among the participant teams inside in bio-bubble in Kolkata. The sports body has also made it clear that the league committee, headed by Subrata Dutta, has unanimously come to this decision of temporarily putting off the matches. The federation will review the entire situation after four weeks.

The league was earlier suspended for one week after the news of the Covid breach within the bio-bubble came to the front. Eight players along with three officials were tested positive last week. However, the total number of COVID-19 cases has now reached 45 after the latest round of tests which prompted the decision, said PTI.

“With the number of positive cases rising all over the country exponentially, the new covid norms and restrictions being implemented by the Government of West Bengal, and with the philosophy of AIFF not allowing any compromise with the health and safety of the players and officials, it’s prudent that the I-League 2021-22 be postponed by at least 6 weeks, a fact which was corroborated by all the participating clubs in the meeting,” read the statement released by the AIFF. 

“The clubs also unanimously appreciated the efforts taken by the AIFF to give paramount importance to the health of the players and officials.” 

“Players and officials who have tested positive in the team hotels who have already been isolated will be treated, and quarantined in Kolkata as per the health parameters laid down and will be allowed to leave the bubble after they test negative,” the statement added.

AIFF also added that all the Covid related protocols will be followed till January 7 and all the players are scheduled to give their samples for testing again on January 5. Players who test negative will be allowed to depart for their homes.

The league committee accepted the advice of the sports medical committee, which is headed by Dr Harsh Mahajan, that the league should be postponed further considering the latest upsurge in Covid cases. The decision was also made after taking into account the latest advisory from the West Bengal government, which has imposed several restrictions on air traffic and has decided to shut all the academic activities in all educational institutions.

“We are awaiting fresh test results and further decisions will be based on them. Having said that, the number of cases within four-five teams has risen alarmingly,” said a source in the AIFF.

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