East Bengal players and coaches stuck because of the Covid-19 lockdown have been asked to vacate their flats they were provided by sponsors Quess Corp as per their contracts.
Most foreign East Bengal players left for their homes, some like physical trainer Carlos Nodarhad preferred to stay put.
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“This is the worst thing to happen. Where will we go now especially when there’s nationwide lockdown in force,” a player told PTI. “There is no way we can vacate at this point of time but the management is just ignoring our calls. Let’s wait and watch.”
The Bangalore-based sponsors are all set to exit East Bengal by May 31 and activated force majeure terminating all contracts with effect from May 1. Many concerned players have turned for help and approached the Football Players Association of India (FPAI).
“As per notification from the owners of the residential accommodations in Rosedale, Uniworld and other residences, we will be handing over the apartments to the respective owners by 25th May, 2020,” a message purportedly sent by Quess management stated.
“From 18th May 2020, we will start to clean, repair and sanitise all the vacated apartments. Those who have personal belongings lying in the apartments please try and collect it by 20th May, 2020. QEBFC (Quess East Bengal Football Club) will not be responsible for any loss of your personal belongings which are in your respective apartments,” the statement added.
Covid-19's Impact on BAME Players
In anticipation of restarting the football season next month, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) have requested the Premier League to conduct extra research into the potential impact of coronavirus on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) players.
Statistical data has suggested that people of minority communities are four times more likely to die due to Covid-19. Mark Gillett, medical adviser of the Premier League, stated that he will be monitoring the risk to BAME players.
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“We will do everything we can to mitigate against [the risk] … as more information becomes available,” he said. “But the risk in young fit athletes is still very small and I think that is an important factor.”
The Premier League meanwhile has reported that six players or staff have tested positive for Covid-19 during the first two days of testing. The testing took place on Sunday and Monday. 784 tests were carried out with positive spreads across three clubs.
“The Premier League can today confirm that, on Sunday 17 May and Monday 18 May, 748 players and club staff were tested for Covid-19,” a statement by the League said. “Of these, six have tested positive from three clubs. Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.
“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and oversight. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the Premier League due to legal and operational requirements,” the statement added.
‘Ligue 1 Could Have Been Completed in August’
A letter written by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin stated that the August 3 deadline to complete the suspended football season was only a recommendation and not officially stated amid an ongoing row over the decision to prematurely end the campaign in France.
The letter written by Ceferin sent to the Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas stated, “We always mentioned during those meetings that these dates were recommended and tentative, not official.”
“UEFA's recommendation was ... clearly to encourage the national associations and leagues to do their utmost to finish the ongoing domestic championships, either in the original format or an adapted format, if necessary.” it added.
The French League, (LFP) called off this season on April 30 without completing 10 rounds of matches.
Difficult for Cricket Without Spectators: Bhutia
Even without spectators, football is not likely to suffer a lot, since that is the sheer nature of the game, feels former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia.
The Bundesliga started on Saturday and became the first major European league to restart since sports were suspended because of the pandemic. "I think football will still survive behind closed doors," Bhutia told IANS in an interview.
"I think for cricket, it's going to be very difficult without spectators. Because football is an action packed game but cricket may suffer. Football...people won't get bored as it will always be action. We have seen in Test cricket, when there is no crowd people don't tend to watch," Bhutia said.
The Indian football came to an end with the Indian Super League (ISL) final between ATK and Chennaiyin FC being played behind closed doors just before lockdowns came into effect. The I-League was called off with four rounds to spare. Mohun Bagan had clinched the title before the cancellation.
Premier League Mulls Virtual Fans
The Premier League is looking at the idea of using audio effects and computer generated ‘fans’, so that they can improve the viewer experience of watching games behind closed doors .
The league had voted in favour of non-contact training in small groups and hopes to be able to clear contact training next week as it prepares to start ‘Project Restart’.
The Bundesliga returned to action on Saturday without any major hitches, however, Premier League CEO Richard Masters says they are looking at ways to improve the television experience of watching games in empty stadiums.
“I think we’ll take a different approach, not better, but slightly different approach about the behind closed doors product and that was one of the things we were able to talk to clubs today, the direction of travel on. We have a group of clubs and broadcasters together on that,” Masters said.
The absence of fans supporting their side was visible on Bundesliga broadcasts with players’ saying the only noise they heard was that of the commentator’s.
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