Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup play-off in doubt after Maldives Sports Minister alleges breach of Covid-19 protocols

The club, meanwhile, has denied knowledge of any such incident….

Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru FC have been asked to leave Maldives immediately after some players from their squad were alleged to have breached the existing Covid-19 protocols in the country. 

The club, meanwhile, denied knowledge of any such incident when Goal reached out to them.

Maldives’ Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ahmed Mahloof took to social media to make a statement on the same. 

“Unacceptable behavior from Bengaluru FC breaching the strict guidelines from HPA & AFC. The club should leave Maldives immediately as we can’t entertain this act. We honoured the commitment we gave a few months back even with the surge in cases & pressure from the public.”

Bengaluru FC had landed in Maldives on Friday for their AFC Cup play-off tie against Maldivian outfit Club Eagles.

Mahloof further mentioned that the country have decided not to host the AFC Cup play-offs tie between Bengaluru FC vs Eagles FC and the ministry has informed the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) to make arrangements for the Blues’ departure. They will also request AFC to postpone the AFC Cup Group E matches.

“We have informed FAM that we cannot hold the match, and asked them to make arrangements for Bengaluru FC’s departure. We will be in further correspondence with AFC through Maldives FA
to postpone the group stage.”

It has been reported in local media that there was a breach of Covid-19 protocols and guidelines set by the Health Protection Agency of Maldives and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). 

Guidelines set by the Ministry of Tourism, Maldives for Indian tourists on April 25 reads:

1) Tourists arriving to the Maldives from India (including those exceeding transit stays of 24 hours) who have completed the prescribed dose(s) of a Covid-19 vaccine, must hold a negative result for a nucleic acid test (PCR test) for COVID- l9 prior to entry into the Maldives. The sample for said PCR test must be taken not more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en-route to the Maldives. Furthermore, all above mentioned tourists should undertake a PCR test for COVID- l9 within a maximum of 72 hours prior to their departure from the Maldives.   

2. Maldivians and work permit holders to Maldives from India who have completed the prescribed dose(s) of a Covid-19 vaccine, must undertake a nucleic acid test (PCR test) for COVID- l9 within 24 hours of arrival to the Maldives and observe a mandatory travel quarantine of 10 days, followed by a negative PCR test result at the end of this period. However, children below one-year-old are exempted from the aforementioned requirement.   

3. To halt any further check-ins of inbound tourists from India (including those exceeding transit stays of 24 hours in India) to Guesthouses and Hotels in Inhabited Islands (excluding hotels and guesthouses in secluded areas of the Inhabited Islands). 

When Goal reached out to the club, they denied knowledge of any such incident and that they have not been intimated of any such issues. 

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