Maldives asks Bengaluru FC to leave ahead of AFC Cup match; BFC admits “inexcusable behaviour”


PTI, May 9, 2021, 1:24 PM IST

Male: 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 Indian Super League side to leave the country alleging breach of COVID-19 protocols.

The exact nature of the alleged breach by BFC, which is captained by India skipper Sunil Chhetri, is not clear but sports minister Ahmed Mahloof termed it as “unacceptable behaviour.”

BFC had reached Maldives on Friday.

“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,” he tweeted on 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.”

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

Mahloof”s tweet also meant that all the Group D matches may be in jeopardy.

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 few months back even with the surge in cases & pressure from the public,” Mahloof said in another tweet.

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