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Two Players Test Covid-19 Positive Ahead of I-League Qualifiers; Genoa-Torino Match Postponed and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): Ahead of I-League Qualifiers, a player each from FC Bengaluru United FC and Bhawanipore FC test positive for Covid-19 | Genoa-Torino match postponed after virus sweeps squad | Bengaluru FC begin pre-season without head coach | San Diego Loyal forfeit match after alleged homophobic comment | Neymar avoids sanction after alleged racism, homophobia.
i-league qualifiers

The I-League qualifiers will start from October 8 where five teams are going to play in a round-robin format, taking on each other once.

One player each from FC Bengaluru United and Bhawanipore FC tested positive for the coronavirus before the I-League Qualifiers begin next week.

The qualifiers will start from October 8 where five teams are going to play in a round-robin format, taking on each other once. The matches will take place at VYBK Stadium in Kolkata and Kalyani Stadium till October 19. Besides Bengaluru United and Bhawanipore, ARA FC, Garhwal FC and Mohammedan SC will fight for a spot in the I-League.

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"The All India Football Federation (AIFF) in close coordination with the Indian Football Association and competent medical authorities are conducting regular COVID-19 tests on all participating officials, players and support staff for the forthcoming Hero I-League Qualifiers slated to kick-off in Kolkata on October 8, 2020," an AIFF statement read on Thursday.

"It is to be notified that one player each from FC Bengaluru United and Bhawanipore FC have tested positive," it informed.

The statement added all protocols and medical assistance is being provided to the teams and the players who tested positive are quarantined as safety measures.

Genoa-Torino Match Postponed

Genoa's match against Torino was postponed after 15 team and staff members of the Ligurian club tested positive for coronavirus, Serie A confirmed.

The third-round match would be a first postponement for Serie A because of the pandemic after the championship kicked off on September 19.

The postponement was announced just days after the Italian government allowed fans into the stadiums.

Genoa had asked for the match to be rescheduled since the squad was not able train because of the quarantine protocols.

Torino president Urbano Cairo called out the Italian football chiefs' for not being able to decide on how to proceed.

"The important thing is that a rule had to be established, like UEFA did some time ago by establishing when to play and when not to play," Cairo told Sky Sports Italia.

"La Liga for example adopted that rule and did it long ago. We are very late and this is a shame. I think it should have been done earlier because it was easy to predict that situations of this type could occur in autumn,” he added.

BFC Without Head Coach

Former Indian Super League (ISL) champions Bengaluru FC began their pre-season training without head coach Carles Cuadrat and the technical staff at the Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) in Bellary. 29 players are present for the training camp.

The team and the staff members have reached north Karnataka district after going through three rounds of in-house testing and one at the IIS in Bellary. They are now quarantined for four days before they start training.

While the foreign contingent are still awaiting their visas, first-team assistant coach Naushad Moosa and the Indian staff have taken charge of the training sessions. The squad is in regular contact with Cuadrat and the technical staff, who are in Spain.

“We would have liked to begin our pre-season with a complete team — that includes foreign staff and players, but given the situation with visas and travel, this was a hurdle we saw coming and had planned for it in advance,” said club CEO Mandar Tamhane.

San Diego Forfeit Match

Landon Donovan said San Diego Loyal "would not stand" for bigotry and left the pitch in protest after an alleged homophobic comment was passed at midfielder Collin Martin.

A player from Phoenix Rising was accused of passing the comment just before half-time in the USL Championship game.

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Loyal players came back to the pitch after the half time was over but eventually walked off after the referee blew his whistle, forfeiting a match they were leading 3-1 and letting go of their chance to reach play-offs.

They had also forfeited the match against LA Galaxy II last week after an alleged racial slur was passed at midfielder Elijah Martin. The accused player is no longer a part of the Galaxy.

Loyal manager and executive vice-president Donovan, who played in the Premier League for Everton, said: "We went through a really hard incident last week in the LA match and we made a vow to ourselves, to our community, to our players, to the club, to USL, that we would not stand for bigotry, homophobic slurs, things that don't belong in our game."

Neymar Avoids Sanction

Paris Saint-German's Neymar and Marseille's Alvaro Gonzalez have been let off without a punishment for allegedly making racist and homophobic remarkswhen their sides played each other last month, the French league (LFP) announced on Wednesday.

Neymar was accused of making racist remarks towards Marseille's Japan right-back Hiroki Sakai and Gonzalez. The Brazil attacker had earlier said the Spanish centre-back Gonzalez called him a "monkey".

"The disciplinary commission states that it does not have sufficient proof to allow it to establish the substance of the facts concerning discriminatory language," the LFP said.

Marseille's victory at Parc des Princes on September 13 ended with five players being awarded a red card each.

Neymar was sent off the field for slapping Gonzalez on the back of the head and was handed over a two-match ban.

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