AFC Women's Asian Cup: No interaction of teams apart from stadium; even chefs, drivers to stay in bio-bubble
- As part of protocols, everyone associated with the tournament will be staying inside a bio-bubble and everyone would be tested every 72 hours.
Maharashtra is getting ready to host the upcoming AFC Women's Cup and the organizers are not taking any chances with the Covid-19 safety protocols, with all possible steps being taken to ensure minimal interaction of the teams with the outside world.
The leading 12 Asian teams will contest for the AFC Women's Asian Cup title from January 20-February 6 this year.
As part of protocols, everyone associated with the tournament will be staying inside a bio-bubble and everyone would be tested every 72 hours.
"The tournament will take place in a bio-secure environment, when the team lands in Mumbai, there is a separate way for them to come out. They will be tested for Covid-19 and immediately they would be shifted to the team hotel which is also in a bio-bubble. Till the time they get their negative RT-PCR report, they will be isolated in the team hotel. Only when the entire team gets their negative RT-PCR reports, they are allowed to train in and around the stadium," sources in the know of developments told ANI.
"There is no other interaction apart from going to the stadium. Even the hotels are in bio-bubbles so the hotel staff, chefs, technicians will stay in the hotel. No one will go inside and no one will go outside. Everyone will be in the bubble including the bus drivers, even the Local Organising Committee is not interacting with the team. Everyone will be tested every 72 hours," the official further explained.
It has also come to light that there would be no seven-day institutional quarantine for the teams coming to Maharashtra after the government gave an exemption looking at how the tournament will be played in a bio-bubble.
"Yes, there is an exemption for international teams regarding seven-day institutional quarantine. The basic reason behind this is that they are coming from one bio-bubble and entering another. For all the teams, they have a separate counter and testing area at the airport to ensure that they do not interact with many people at the airport," sources said.
When asked about what happens if a player ends up testing positive for Covid-19, the source said: "If a player ends up testing positive during the tournament, they will be isolated completely. Till the time that player is not negative, they would not be allowed to take the ground."
The AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 will be played in three stadiums at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai and the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune with all three venues and training facilities spruced up.
Over in Pune, new training facilities were reconstructed for the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 while the pitch at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex has been upgraded, and new floodlights installed.
Two additional practice pitches have also been constructed to cater to the tournament. Apart from that the team dressing rooms, hospitality areas, and the media tribune have been upgraded.
The D.Y. Patil Stadium, the venue of the Final on February 6, has seen the renovation of floodlights while the pitch has been upgraded to meet international standards.