A COVID-19 outbreak in the team forced host India to withdraw from its second group match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup against Chinese Taipei on Sunday at the DY Patil stadium.

With several members of the team testing positive, India failed to adhere to the AFC guidelines of having a minimum of 13 players - 11 starters and two reserves - to continue a game.

Sportstar has learnt that India had only 11 players available on matchday morning from the 23-member squad and two more tested positive later in the day.

“Following several positive cases of COVID-19, India failed to name the required minimum of 13 players for the Group A match against Chinese Taipei. In accordance with Article 4.1 of the ‘Special Rules Applicable to AFC Competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (Special Rules), India was therefore unable to participate in the match and the full provisions of Article 4.1 will apply,” the AFC said in a statement.

According to Article 4.1 in the AFC special rules for the competition during pandemic, “If a Participating Team/Participating Club has less than 13 participating players (including one goalkeeper) available for a match for any reason (whether or not relating to COVID-19), the relevant participating team/participating club shall not be able to participate in the match.”

“Such participating team/participating club shall be held responsible for the match not taking place and shall be considered to have withdrawn from the relevant competition. The relevant participating team/participating club and its affiliated member association shall be subject to the provisions of the relevant Competition regulations regarding the consequences of withdrawal, as applicable.”

The matter will now be referred to the relevant AFC Committee(s) in accordance with the applicable regulations.

This virtually rules out India's chances of making the knockouts of the continental championship and also casts a doubt over India's final group game against China on Wednesday.  

Even though the match officials and the members of the Chinese Taipei team took the field almost an hour before the scheduled start time and warmed up, there was no sign of the Indian team.