Bengaluru FC issues apology for COVID protocols breach in Maldives

Bengaluru FC issued an apology after three members from the side was involved in a COVID-19 protocol breach in Maldives that led the AFC Cup playoffs to be postponed.

Bengaluru FC

Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC (BFC) issued an apology after it was evicted from the AFC Cup play-offs being held in Maldives on Sunday for breaching COVID-19 protocols.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC (BFC) issued an apology after it was asked to leave Maldives, where the AFC Cup play-offs were to be held held, for breaching the local COVID-19 protocols.

While the exact nature of the breach is unknown, the health and safety breach prompted the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to postpone the Group D matches of the tournament held in Male.

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Local media outlets in Maldives reported that a few BFC players and staff were spotted on the Male streets - a violation of the protocol set by the Health Protection Agency. The protocol states that the BFC contingent is allowed to leave the team hotel only to train and play the match.

A photo in a Channel News Maldives report shows BFC midfielder Erik Paartalu and two other BFC members outdoors. A request made to BFC to confirm the identity of the two members - with their backs to the camera, unlike a clearly identifiable Paartalu - was not entertained.

"Bengaluru FC would also like to place on record an unconditional apology for a health and safety breach, involving one member of staff and two players in the Maldives, on Saturday. The club has held the highest standard of safety and precaustion throughout the pandemic, and this error in judgement in no way aligns or indicates otherwise stringent measures that the club has maintained over the course of the season," BFC said in its statement.

The club also announced that it will be making immediate arrangements for the safe return of its players and staff back home.

RELATED| Bengaluru FC asked to leave after Maldives sports minister alleges breach in COVID protocols

Earlier, Bengaluru FC CEO Parth Jindal tweeted an apology for the behaviour of the players and added that stringent action will be taken against them.

(With inputs from Ashwin Achal)

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