AIFF’s bio-bubble is a case study for other international federations: Kushal Das

NEW DELHI: Genuine apprehensions preceded the kick-off, but many months, matches and competitions later, the All India Football Federation’s COVID-19 bio-bubble remains as impregnable as ever.
Its proud general secretary, Kushal Das, feels their model could be used as a case study for institutions and international sports federations which have seen their bio-bubble being breached by the raging pandemic, leading to cancellations and postponements of matches and events.
In the case of Indian football, no tournament has been cancelled since competitions resumed with the I-league Qualifiers last October.
“Praise came in from FIFA, AFC. Indian football’s bio-bubble protocol is a case study for many — not just in sports management institutions, but across international federations as well,” Das told PTI during an interview. Behind the AIFF’s success in hosting competitions amid the pandemic lies a slew of stringent measures it has adopted, including a complete shunning of VIP culture in the stadiums.
Once inside, no one was allowed to come out of the bubble.
“Our biggest success in our bio bubble protocol was that it was unbreachable. We did away with the VIP culture and every operational staff who were part of the bubble were never allowed to move out for the entire duration. No one was allowed to come in either.
“Tests were conducted every 3-4 days, and if anyone tested positive, he was kept in isolation for over 17 days and released only after 3 RT-PCR tests came out to be negative.
“It was hard, and I need to laud the sacrifices of AIFF staff who were there in the bubble throughout. We even had X-ray machines, doctors, physios, masseurs, drivers staying inside the bubble to make it a completely sustainable eco system for our events,” Das elaborated.
The top official said his federation was aware about the task at hand, considering the logistical challenges of organising top tournaments amid a constantly evolving pandemic.

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