Indian Super League outfit Bengaluru FC owner Parth Jindal apologised on Twitter after three members of the Blues camp broke the COVID-19 bio bubble set by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Maldives. The Blues were set to feature in the AFC Cup playoffs match against Club Eagles which however got postponed along with several other fixtures as well.
Jindal also stated that the club will take strict action against the offenders and even released a statement revealing the same thing.
“On behalf of Bengaluru FC, I am extremely sorry for the inexcusable behaviour of three of our foreign players/staff while in Male – the strictest action will be taken against these players/staff. We have let the AFC Cup down and can only say that this will never happen again,” Jindal tweeted as an apology.
The incident sparked a lot of controversies and hence Maldives FA requested the AFC to postpone the fixtures including the playoffs game to a later date. While Bengaluru FC had to return to their country, the same was notified to other teams like ATK Mohun Bagan, Maziya S&RC and Bashundhara Kings.
The incident was caught by some local journalists and photographers who clicked a photo of three Bengaluru FC player or staff clearly breaking the COVID-19 protocols and roaming in the streets of Male in Maldives. It angered the country’s Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof who took to Twitter to vent out his criticisms.
He tweeted, “Unacceptable behaviour from @bengalurufc
breaching the strict guidelines from HPA & @theafcdotcom. 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.”
Several reports suggest that the HPA have taken special permission to host the AFC Playoffs game against the Club Eagles and Bengaluru FC amidst the spike in COVID-19 cases. Despite the travel ban on Indians, they allowed Bengaluru FC to come only under the special permit where the players and staff had to be in a bio bubble except for the training session and matches.
However, after this incident, the sports minister requested AFC to postpone the matches to a later date and sent the Blues back to their country. The request was upheld and the same was communicated to all the participating teams from the group.