TWO PLAYERS SET TO participate in the upcoming I-League Qualifiers have tested positive for COVID-19.
The results have come in a week ahead of the competition's planned start date, as every player and staff from all 5 participating teams are undergoing mandatory tests and screenings to ensure they are not carrying the coronavirus infection before entering the safety bubble.
A statement from the All India Football Federation regarding the matter said the following,
"The All India Football Federation (AIFF) in close coordination with the Indian Football Association and competent medical authorities are conducting regular COVID-19 tests on all participating officials, players and support staff for the forthcoming Hero I-League Qualifiers slated to kick-off in Kolkata on October 8, 2020.
It is to be notified that one 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.
We request the media to kindly not speculate and allow some space to the concerned players.
In addition, and as part of our commitment to ensure the safety of all participating teams and operational staff, the AIFF and the IFA will continue to conduct Covid-19 tests for all required personnel in line with the agreed safety regulations."
Players have started to arrive in Kolkata in batches as the high-stakes competition, which provides the winner an entry into the I-League 2020-21, is about to begin.
The organization of the tournament as well as the COVID-19 safety protocols have been established by AIFF and the Indian Football Association (West Bengal). These positive tests, while a setback for FC Bengaluru United and Bhawanipore FC, hopefully represent isolated cases that will not affect the teams and the tournament as a whole.