AFC Asian Cup: AIFF president Praful Patel says, 'games will be played as long as 13 players are Covid-19 negative'
The All India Football Federation President Praful Patel discusses the Covid-19 protocols in AFC Asian Cup 2022 .
The stage is all set for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup 2022 in Maharashtra with 10 out of the 12 teams reaching India and setting camp at their respective allotted bases.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC), the All India Football Federation (AIFF), and the Maharashtra government have prepared the three venues in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune for the event and are confident of successfully organising the event as per all the Covid-19 SOPs and protocols set by the AFC.
Meanwhile, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel shared his experience and journey organising the Women's Asian Cup 2022 India on a virtual meeting with a group of journalists. During the meet, Mr. Patel explained how the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic slowed things down and how the government along with the AIFF are doing their level best for the sport football in India.
Discussing about the venues of the tournament, Mr. Patel explained " the three venues for this tournament will Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune because FIFA asked us to make sure the teams don't have to travel much, the venues were different before but due to the Covid-19 situation, the tournament has to be hosted with utmost safety and closed doors without spectators,"
Although ten teams are participating in this tournament, Mr. Patel was confident that AIFF and Maharastra government could get the job done in a similar fashion like the 2017 Under-19 FIFA World Cup. He said, "We hosted the Under-19 FIFA World Cup in 2017 and it was recognised as the best organised junior FIFA World Cup in the history of FIFA."
The big question was, if a player or anyone in team gets tested positive during the tournament, what are the rules then?
He replied, "If the 13 sanctioned players of the team are available and not positive, the show will go on."
Also, it was asked if the Covid-19 situation improves during the time of the tournament, will it allow spectators? Patel said, "that's highly unlikely right now looking at the situation but if the situation is good by then? It's the AFC decision and they have asked us to keep it inside a bio-bubble."