Players to stay inside bio-bubble: AIFF lays down strict COVID rules for I-League qualifiers

KOLKATA: Relieved to be finally able to start the delayed football season next month with the I-League Qualifiers here, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Thursday said it will strictly implement the COVID-19 protocols during the event.
The I-League Qualifiers will be held from October 8 to 19 in two venues of West Bengal with five teams playing each other in a round-robin format. The AIFF will put up a bio-secure bubble at a five-star deluxe hotel in Kolkata where all the teams and officials will be accommodated.
“After a prolonged halt in sporting actions owing to COVID-19 pandemic situation, we’re going to resume football in India through the Hero I-League qualifiers. It’s going to bring a sense of relief to players, officials, club management as well as us. But, there can never be any compromise with the safety of players and officials. We will be ensuring that all appropriate medical support is being given to the teams,” Leagues CEO Sunando Dhar said.
The AIFF has laid down the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which are in line with the government guidelines. “The dos and don’ts have already been shared with the respective teams. There will be regular tests (of players and officiials) and under no circumstance will one be allowed to move out, or come in contact with someone who is not part of the bio-secure bubble,” Dhar said.
Prior to reporting at the hotel, all the members of the five teams need to carry out RT-PCR test (gold-standard) twice. Only those players and officials whose both reports are negative will be allowed into the designated team hotel.
Reports will have to be uploaded on AIFF CMS before the date of arrival at the team hotel. While the first test must be conducted between September 15 and 18, the second one will need to be done between September 22 and 23.
After reaching the hotel, members of all teams will stay in isolation for the next three days, followed by the first scheduled RT-PCR test on September 28. Further RT-PCR tests will be conducted on October 4, 9 and 19.
If any team member tests positive, he/she will be isolated without any delay while others will be allowed to resume training. No replacement will be allowed although the AIFF will permit signing of new players till September 30. “The AIFF will monitor every member through regular checks including body temperature, oxygen level, as well as RT-PCR test on pre-determined dates,” Dhar said.
The teams will also be provided dedicated time slots for the gym sessions of their players. “Match officials and the ground staff will also need to undergo the same process. On those stipulated days, everyone directly connected to the operations will need to appear for the COVID-19 tests including AIFF officials,” Dhar said. —PTI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.