Maldives Sports Minister accuses Bengaluru of breaching Covid rules

Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan’s AFC Cup matches are in doubt after Maldives’ Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof alleged a breach of the country’s Covid-19 protocols by the former.

Mahloof did not describe the nature of the breach but termed Bengaluru’s behaviour as “unacceptable” and the club has to leave Maldives “immediately”.

“Unacceptable behavior from @bengalurufc breaching the strict guidelines from HPA & @theafcdotcom. The club should leave (Maldives) immediately as we can’t entertain this act. We honoured the commitment we gave a few months back even with the surge in cases & pressure from the public,” Mahloof tweeted.

Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru are to face local side Eagles FC in the AFC Cup play-offs on May 11. Mahloof said in a later tweet that the government has informed the Football Association of Maldives that the match cannot go ahead and will later ask the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to postpone the group stage matches scheduled to be held in the country after the game.

“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,” he said.

Bengaluru’s ISL rivals ATK Mohun Bagan have already qualified for the group stage. The winner of the match between Bengaluru and Eagles would join Bagan in Group D (South Zone). The Group D matches are scheduled to start on May 14 with Bagan facing the winner of the playoff match.