Covid-19 hits ISL; Saturday's ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC match deferred
- ATK Mohun Bagan player has tested positive, club says in statement on Saturday.
An ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) player and the partner of another have tested positive for Covid-19 leading to their Indian Super League (ISL) match against Odisha FC on Saturday being deferred. These are the first official cases of Covid-19 in nearly one-and-a-half seasons of ISL being held in Goa in a four-tiered bio-secure bubble.
“Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has decided to postpone Match No. 53 between ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC scheduled to be played today, Saturday, January 8, 2022, at PJN Stadium in Fatorda. The League will look to reschedule the fixture to a later date,” read the message from the league.
"The decision has been taken in consultation with the League's medical team after a ATK Mohun Bagan player tested positive for Covid-19. The League will work closely with the medical experts to monitor and ensure the safety of all the players and support staff in the squad and others involved,” said the statement.
The media release did not mention the player’s partner but it has been learnt that she has tested positive. Following the positive tests, the results of which came in on Saturday morning, ATKMB players and staff are isolating in their rooms and will be tested every day.
ATK Mohun Bagan are scheduled to play Bengaluru FC on January 15. They played Hyderabad FC on Wednesday.
ISL8 began on November 19 with over 98% of those connected with the competition having completed two doses of vaccination. Players and staff are tested prior to every training session and on match days. Rapid Antigen Tests are mandatory every time players, partners or staff step out of hotels and RT-PCR tests are conducted every 72 hours. This is after they had returned three negative tests to enter the bio-bubble. Everyone has to undergo a week’s quarantine during which they are tested everyday before entering the bubble.
ISL8 is being held with 14 hotels --- one for each 11 teams with league staff, broadcast team and match officials lodged in separate hotels -- three stadia and training grounds being part of the bubble.
Earlier this week, the 13-team I-League being conducted in Kolkata in a bio-bubble involving four hotels, stadia and training grounds was deferred for six weeks because of Covid-19. On December 29, following at least eight cases, one round was deferred. With cases spiking, the league was stopped on Monday and a review meeting scheduled four weeks later.