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Rising Covid cases in ISL bubble, coaches question postponement criteria

As a result, two matches in the ongoing edition have been postponed, the latest being Saturday’s clash between Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan.

Published: 16th January 2022 07:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2022 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Super League logo.

Indian Super League logo. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  The third wave of Covid-19 is making matters difficult for the Indian Super League with cases on the rise. The bio bubble in Goa has been breached with several teams’ players and officials being infected with the virus. As a result, two matches in the ongoing edition have been postponed, the latest being Saturday’s clash between Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan.

In fact, the latter’s previous game against Odisha FC also met the same fate seven days ago. Both the teams have cases inside their camps. If the Mariners have not trained for the last six to seven days, the Blues have not hit the ground for a couple of days. The story is more or less the same for some other clubs too like Kerala Blasters, who have not trained after their last match on Wednesday.

They are said to be in isolation. As of now, Kerala’s clash against Mumbai City FC is expected to go ahead, but things can change quickly. The Islanders head coach Des Buckingham is also ‘concerned’ about the Covid-19 situation though they have no single case. However, his opposite number Ivan Vukomanovic opened up about the difficult situation at hand.

“Looking at the circumstances, not only in our club, but so far, I think nine clubs are in lockdown. It is obviously not easy. Nobody is talking about football games anymore as everyone is concerned. Many of the teams in our expeditions have families, wives, children, pregnant wife,” said Blasters coach Vukomanovic on Saturday. “… have a feeling like it is passing virus to each other.

When the teams meet each other, it is just like a chain process. It brings us to the situation, if you as a team do not train for days and then go for the game, we will see a bad football game and nothing but injuries. It can affect players’ careers too.” With cases being reported in different teams, it is surprising that the ISL has not temporarily halted the league despite maintaining ‘health and safety of all personnel in various bubbles remains our priority’ in their statement after Saturday ’ s g ame was postponed.

Whether the competition is going to be temporarily paused or not in the days to come, some of the players are not happy with how only a select few games are being postponed when several teams have cases. For instance, FC Goa played their last game against NorthEast United on Friday even when some Gaurs players had to miss out due to the Covid situation. However, it is also important to mention that there is a rule, which states that the tie can go ahead if both teams have 15 fit players fit.

With only ATK Mohun Bagan matches being postponed so far, Goa captain Edu Bedia made his frustration public on Instagram. “Yesterday we played the game (against NorthEast) with nine casualties due to Covid cases. Today for the second consecutive match, another team suspends its game for the same reason. Can someone explain that to me? Adulterated competition.

“Players are losing interest and the desire to continue. They continue to play to collect their contracts without any ambition. This is what has been achieved with this year’s rules. Whether you like it or not, all the people inside the bio-bubble just want March to come and the league to end, whatever the outcome.”



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