Indian Football

I-League to resume on 3 March, two months after it was suspended due to COVID outbreak

Arjun Singh Devgan

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed on Tuesday that the current I-League season will resume on 3 March, two months after it was suspended due to COVID-19 outbreak inside its bio-bubble.

The ongoing edition of the I-League was suspended by the AIFF on 3 January after a fresh COVID-19 outbreak hit the participating teams inside the bio-bubble. It was reported that that time a total of 45 COVID-19 cases had hit the league which prompted the authorities to suspend the league for a minimum period of six weeks.

As per the recent statement from AIFF, the bio-bubble will start functioning again from 20 February onwards and strict COVID-19 protocols will be enforced to ensure the safety of the players and officials.

"Continuing as before, the Hero I-League will be played from within the safety of a bio-bubble, which will begin on February 20, with the players and officials needing to travel with three negative RT-PCR tests before joining the bio-bubble," a statement from AIFF said.

"Additionally, on the advice of Dr. Harsh Mahajan, Member of AIFF's Sports Medical Committee, every players is also required to do a 12 lead ECG before arrival," the statement added.

Once inside the bio-bubble, all the players and officials will need to serve seven days in quarantine, with three more tests done on them. On returning three negative RT-PCR tests in quarantine, the players and officials will be free to operate from within the bio-bubble and attend training sessions, meals, team meetings and matches.

Only six matches of the I-League season have been played so far before it was suspended and despite the suspension, there will be no change in format of the I-League. The 13 teams will play against each other once in a round-robin format in the first round.

The matches will be played across three venues— Kalyani Municipal Stadium, Naihati Stadium and the Mohun Bagan Ground.