Six footballers test positive for COVID ahead of ISL season

Identities of the players are yet to be revealed but the footballers are from ISL champions ATK Mohun Bagan, Hyderabad FC and FC Goa.

By Utathya Nag

With just under two months left for the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 season to start, six players from three different ISL clubs have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

The names of the footballers are yet to be revealed but Times of India suggests that the players are from reigning ISL champions ATK Mohun Bagan, FC Goa and Hyderabad FC.

Two of the players have already recovered while the remaining four have been put in quarantine in their respective homes.

For the three clubs, it will be a big blow to their pre-season preparations for the main event, which is scheduled to start from November. 

All matches of the ISL 2020-21 season will be played under closed doors in three different venues in Goa.

The Indian Super League, which started in 2014, has now become the country’s premier football tournament.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda is one of the three venues in Goa which will host the ISL 2020-21. Photo: AIFF.

The positive results came to light once the clubs started testing their players for the coronavirus, as per ISL guidelines, before travelling to the biosecure bubble in Goa for the tournament.

Meanwhile, players from Bengaluru FC, the ISL 2018-29 champions, and two-time finalists Kerala Blasters have tested negative and are expected to travel to Goa later this week.

Other ISL clubs - Jamshedpur FC, Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC, Odisha FC and NorthEast United FC – are yet to start testing their players.

ISL COVID guidelines

According to the guidelines issued by the Indian Super League, players, coaches and team support staff are required to test negative for COVID-19 in their home city 48 hours before arriving in Goa.

They will be tested again on arrival and will have to self-isolate for a fixed time even if the result is negative.

For players or personnel who test positive before travel, protocols dictate a 14-day isolation in lines with their local government rules.

Three mandatory RT-PCR tests to be conducted on the 10th, 12th and 14th day of the isolation period. Only negative results in the final two will make them eligible to travel to Goa.