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AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC's playoff stage clash against Eagles postponed

·2-min read
Benglauru FC logo
Benglauru FC logo

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 9 (ANI): Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC on Sunday confirmed that its AFC Cup playoff stage clash against Eagles FC has been postponed until further notice.

As a result, the club is now making arrangements to get all its players and staff home at the earliest.

"Bengaluru FC's 2021 AFC Cup Playoff Stage clash against Eagles FC has been postponed until further notice, as confirmed by the Asian Football Confederation on Sunday. The club is making arrangements to get all its players and staff home at the earliest. Bengaluru FC would also like to place on record an unconditional apology for a health and safety breach, involving one member of staff and two players, in the Maldives, on Saturday," the club said in an official statement.

"The club has held the highest standard of safety and precaution throughout the pandemic, and this error in judgment in no way aligns or indicates otherwise stringent measures that the club has maintained over the course of the season. The club will be dealing with this matter internally and no further statement will be made," it added.

Earlier, Bengaluru FC owner Parth Jindal on Sunday apologised to the AFC after three of the Blues' members allegedly "breached" the COVID-19 protocols in the Maldives.

Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC arrived in the Maldives on Friday ahead of their 2021 AFC Cup Playoff clash on May 11. The Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC are slated to take on Eagles FC on Tuesday.

Maldives' Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof asked the Bengaluru FC to leave the country following the "unacceptable behaviour" after reports emerged that three players from the Sunil Chhetri-led club flouted COVID-19 norms.

"Unacceptable behavior from @bengalurufc breaching the strict guidelines from HPA & @theafcdotcom. The club should leave the 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, Mahloof tweeted.

After the incident, Jindal said the franchise will take "strictest action" against the players or staff who breached the protocols.

"On behalf of @bengalurufc, 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 @AFCCup down and can only say that this will never happen again," Jindal tweeted.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Sunday also confirmed that the AFC Cup (South) Group D matches, which were scheduled to take place from May 14 to 21, 2021, will not be held in Male, Maldives.

Bengaluru FC had thrashed Nepal's Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 in their AFC Cup preliminary round 2 encounter in April. The Blues will lock horns with Eagles as Bangladesh's Abahani Dhaka Limited had pulled out of the tournament. (ANI)