The I-League was suspended for at least a week on Wednesday after COVID-19 violated its bio-bubble as eight players and three officials tested positive for the dreaded virus. Five players and three officials from Real Kashmir FC, one player each from Mohammedan Sporting, debutants from Sreenidi Deccan FC and Aizawl FC returned positive in tests carried out on Tuesday.
The next round of matches (December 30 and 31) will be rescheduled. We will review the situation on January 4, ” I-League president Subrata Dutta told PTI after an emergency meeting. The first round matches were played on Sunday and Monday while the third round matches are scheduled for January 4 and 5.
Sreenidi, Mohammedan Sporting, NEROCA and Aizawl FC have games scheduled for Thursday while RKFC has a game on Friday. All of those second round matches will now be played later. No game was scheduled for Wednesday. According to sources from the Indian Football Federation (AIFF), it is unlikely that the January 4 matches will be played, but it is possible that the January 5 matches will take place if no further positive cases emerge. All players who tested positive have already been isolated thanks to AIFF surveillance and subsequent regular medical consultations, according to an I-League statement. The epidemic occurred at the Novotel hotel, one of the three bio-bubbles, set up by the organizers of the Football League which began on Sunday.
Besides RKFC, Sreenidi Deccan and Mohammedan Sporting, the other three teams staying at the Novotel hotel are Rajasthan United, Aizawl FC and NEROCA.
Dutta chaired the emergency virtual league committee meeting to make a decision on whether to continue or suspend the league.
“The committee unanimously decided to postpone the games of the Hero I-League 2021-22 for the next round which was scheduled for December 30 and 31, 2021,” the league statement read.
“The League will review the situation once all test results are known on January 4, 2022 and reach consensus thereafter, including the next round matches on January 4 and 5.” He said all players, staff and referees have been tested. Wednesday. They will be tested again on January 1 and 3.
The I-League committee said it took into consideration the advice of Dr Harsh Mahajan, a member of the AIFF Sports Medical Committee, “to adhere to the medical parameters and move forward together without compromising on health. players which is of utmost importance. ” ” Dr. Mahajan, advised that there must be minimal contact between everyone for the next 5-7 days, as studies indicate that the Delta and Omicron variants may be transmitted to other human bodies during the period. ” Earlier today, I- League CEO Sunando Dhar confirmed the COVID outbreak and said the safety of players and officials was of paramount importance.
Thirteen teams compete this year in the I-League at three venues: Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata, Kalyani Stadium in Kalyani and Naihati Stadium in Naihati. RKFC owner Sandeep Chattoo admitted some of the players on his team tested positive, although he did not specify how many and who.
“Yes, the RKFC also has a few positive cases, players from all (six) teams are suspected (of COVID-19),” he said.
“There was a round of testing on December 21 and all of my players were negative. These latest tests were carried out yesterday. ” All players and officials were required to remain in quarantine for six days at their respective hotels after arriving from their bases. They were to be tested twice during those six days.
As per established league protocols, anyone who tests positive will be isolated on different floors of the hotel and will be required to have three consecutive negative test results before joining teammates.
Dhar previously said that all players participating in the I-League will need to be fully vaccinated except U-18 players and those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection.
U-18 players and those who have not received their jabs due to the recent recovery from COVID-19 will have to undergo more frequent testing during the tournament than vaccinated players.
“If fully vaccinated players are tested every 5 to 6 days, they (U-18 players and recently recovered players) will be tested every 3 to 4 days,” he said. Last season’s I-League, which brought together 11 teams, also took place in a bio-secure environment in Kolkata and Kalyani, and six cases of COVID-19 were then reported.
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