Maldives Minister Asks Bengaluru FC To “Leave Immediately”, Club Admits “Inexcusable Behaviour”

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Bengaluru FC’s AFC Cup play-off match against Eagles FC on May 11 here is in doubt after the host country’s sports minister asked the ISL side to leave citing breach of COVID-19 protocols, a charge which the club’s owner admitted to be right. The exact nature of the protocol breach by BFC, which is captained by India skipper Sunil Chhetri, used to be not specified but sports minister Ahmed Mahloof termed it as “unacceptable”, a sentiment echoed by club owner Parth Jindal.

Unacceptable behavior from @bengalurufc breaching the strict guidelines from HPA & @theafcdotcom.

The club will have to leave immediately as we will’t entertain this act.

We honoured the commitment we gave a couple of months back even with the surge in cases & pressure from the public. https://t.co/RXxma0hyjm


– Ahmed Mahloof (@AhmedMahloof) May 8, 2021

This used to be after reports emerged that probably the most club’s players were seen on a road at Male in violation of the quarantine rules.

Jindal apologised for the “inexcusable behaviour of three foreign players/staff” and promised strictest action against them.

Native media reported that BFC players, who had reached Maldives on Friday, were seen on the Male Roads, which used to be not permitted as they were provided special permission to be there despite the ban on tourists from India as a result of a COVID-19 surge.

“Unacceptable behavior from @bengalurufc breaching the strict guidelines from HPA (Health Protection Agency) & @theafcdotcom. The club will have to leave Maldives immediately as we will’t entertain this act,” Mahloof tweeted from his official care for.

“We have informed FAM that we cannot hold the match, and asked them to make arrangements for @bengalurufc’s departure. We will be able to be in further correspondence with AFC through @MaldivesFA to put back 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 able to be in further correspondence with AFC through @MaldivesFA to put back the group stage. https://t.co/wPO7Qkw9Ou


– Ahmed Mahloof (@AhmedMahloof) May 8, 2021

As per a outline by “Adhadhu News”, a native newspaper quoted by goal.com website, Maldives’ Health Protection Agency (HPA) had provided special permission for the play-off match between Eagles and Bengaluru FC.

One of the most conditions used to be that the players and staff needed to be confined to the hotel all the time apart from when going for training and the matches, it said.

Channel Nine Maldives also put up a photo of BFC’s Australian import Erik Paartalu walking on a road in Male.

Apologising for the behaviour of his players, Jindal said he’ll ensure such events do not happen in future.

“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.”

Maldives is hosting the play-off match and the entire Group D matches as the AFC wanted unmarried venues in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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AFC later issued a remark to say that Group D matches have been postponed but did not give any reason for the development. ATK Mohun Bagan are to play the winner of BFC and Eagles on May 14 in their opening match.

“We honoured the commitment we gave a couple of months back even with the surge in cases & pressure from the public,” Mahloof said in another tweet.

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