Coronavirus: East Bengal refuses to play Kolkata derby behind closed doors

Sunday's Kolkata derby is expected to be held behind closed doors due to coronavirus but host East Bengal is not ready to play in front of empty stands.

East Bengal and Mohun Bagan were supposed to play I-League's last Kolkata derby on Sunday.   -  PTI

Following a Government of India directive to avoid large gathering of people due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in India, the I-League Kolkata derby featuring East Bengal and Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday is expected to be played behind closed doors.

However, East Bengal, the host of what is speculated to be the last derby between the two Kolkata giants, has refused to play the fixture before empty stands.

READ | ISL final: ATK vs Chennaiyin to be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus

Under the present circumstances, a postponement of the match is very much likely. Senior EB official Debabrata Sarkar has said there is no official communication from the team, which is managed by Quess Corp.

Things will become clear on Friday after AIFF has its Skype meeting with the I-League club's representatives on the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The Indian Super League (ISL) final between Chennaiyin FC and ATK on Saturday will also be a closed-door affair. Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), owing to the current preventive measures against COVID-19, has taken this decision.

The government's directive has been sent to the Indian Olympic Association (IOC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and all other national sporting bodies including the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

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