Sunil Chhetri led Bengaluru FC are set to take on the Eagles in the playoff match of the AFC Cup on May 11. However, there are serious doubts if the match will go ahead as the Maldives sports minister has asked the ISL side to leave the country after the club breached their COVID-19 protocols. While the nature of the protocol breach was not specified, sports minister Ahmed Mahloof termed it 'unacceptable'. The Bengaluru FC club owner Parth Jindal apologized to the country and promised strict actions against the culprits.
According to some reports, some of the club’s players were seen on a street at Male which was a violation of quarantine rules. Despite Maldives banning the Indian tourist, special permission was given to the Bengaluru FC to participate in the AFC Cup. The players reached Maldives on Friday and were supposed to stay in the hotel except when going out for training and the matches.
"Unacceptable behavior from @bengalurufc breaching the strict guidelines from HPA (Health Protection Agency) & @theafcdotcom. The club should leave Maldives immediately as we can't entertain this act," Mahloof tweeted from his official handle.
"We have informed FAM that we cannot hold the match, and asked them to make arrangements for @bengalurufc's departure. We will be in further correspondence with AFC through @MaldivesFA to postpone the group stage."
We have informed FAM that we cannot hold the match, and asked them to make arrangements for @bengalurufc’s departure. We will be in further correspondence with AFC through @MaldivesFA to postpone the group stage. https://t.co/wPO7Qkw9Ou— Ahmed Mahloof (@AhmedMahloof) May 8, 2021
Bengaluru FC Club owner Parth Jindal issued an apology and ensured that such things won’t happen again.
"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," he tweeted.
"We have let @AFCCup down and can only say that this will never happen again."
AFC later issued a statement and said that Group D matches have been postponed. The winner of Bengaluru FC and Eagles will play the ATK Mohun Bagan on May 14.