New Delhi [India], September 17 (ANI): All India Football Federation (AIFF) has said that it will maintain a "zero tolerance" policy while stressing on the need for the safety of players and officials during the upcoming Hero I-League Qualifier 2020.
The qualifiers will kick-off from October 8 where five teams will face each other one in a round-robin format. The matches are slated to take place at the VYBK stadium in Kolkata and Kalyani stadium till October 19.
"After a prolonged halt in sporting actions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, we're going to resume football in India through the Hero I-League qualifiers. It's going to bring a sense of relief to players, officials, club management as well as us," Sunando Dhar, CEO, Leagues said in an official release.
"There can never be any compromise with the safety of players and officials. We will be ensuring that all appropriate medical support is being given to the teams. The dos and don'ts have already been shared with the respective teams. We have laid down the SOP which is in line with the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India," the CEO affirmed.
The AIFF has already confirmed to prepare a bio-secure bubble, in its effort to insulate all the teams, with regular tests being done.
Moreover, all teams will be put up in a 'five-star deluxe hotels in Kolkata, and "under no circumstances will one will be allowed to move out, or come in contact with someone who's "not part of the bio-secure bubble."
"In the first of its kind of initiative, All India Football Federation has decided to put up all the teams and match officials in a five-star hotel. Prior to reporting, all the teams need to carry out the RT-PCR test (Gold-standard test) twice for each member who'll be part of the contingent during the Hero I-League qualifiers 2020," Dhar informed.
While the first test must be conducted between September 15 and 18, 2020, the following one will need to be done between September 22 and 23. Only those players and officials whose both reports will be negative will be allowed into the designated team hotel.
Reports will have to be uploaded on AIFF CMS before the date of arrival at the team hotel. Once all the teams check-in, AIFF will monitor every member through regular checks including body temperature, oxygen level, etc, as well as RT-PCR test on pre-determined dates.
After reaching the hotel, all teams will stay in isolation for the next three days followed by the first scheduled RT-PCR test on September 28, 2020. If any team member will test positive, he/ she will be isolated without any delay while others will be allowed to resume training.
The teams will also be provided dedicated time slots for their gym sessions.
"AIFF-appointed officials will supervise daily check-ups and make sure everyone is fully fit and out of danger. Any kind of sickness will be reported without any delay, and proper action will be taken by our medical team. AIFF is working closely with IFA (India Football Association) and will try to ensure no loose ends during the entire process," Dhar assured. (ANI)