I-League was postponed on Wednesday for at least a week after COVID-19 infections affected the team as eight players and three officials have tested positive for the dreaded virus. Five players and three team officials from Real Kashmir FC, one player each from Mohammedan Sporting, debutante Sreenidi Deccan FC and Aizawl FC tested positive in the tests administered on Tuesday. I-League Chairman Subrata Dutta said after an emergency meeting, “The next round of matches (on December 30 and 31) will be rescheduled. We will review the situation on January 4.” The initial round matches were played on Sunday and Monday and the third round games are scheduled for January 4 and 5. Sreenidi, Mohammedan Sporting, NEROCA, and Aizawl FC have matches planned for Thursday and RKFC has a game on Friday. All these second-round matches will now be delayed. No matches have been scheduled for Wednesday.
As per the All India Football Federation (AIFF) sources, the matches on January 4 are doubtful to be played but there is a likelihood that January 5 games will be held if no further positive cases arise. An I-League statement said that all the players who have tested positive have already been isolated with AIFF monitoring and organizing for successive regular medical consultations. The outbreak occurred at the Novotel Hotel, one of the three bio-bubbles, arranged by the organizers for the football League that commenced on Sunday. Furthermore, the three other teams that are staying at the Novotel Hotel are Rajasthan United, Aizawl FC, and NEROCA. Dutta chaired the emergency virtual meeting of the League Committee to agree on the continuation or suspension of the league. The Committee unanimously agreed to suspend the Hero I-League 2021-22 matches for the next round which were scheduled on December 30-31, 2021,” the league statement explained. “The League will examine the situation once all test results come in on January 4, 2022, and reach a consensus thereafter including the next round matches on Jan 4-5.” It announced all the players, staff, and referees have been tested on Wednesday. They will be tested similarly on January 1 and 3.