The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into football proceedings in the last few months. However, with things beginning to open up across Europe, it would seem as though India will also be following suit. The I-League, a tournament that was set to begin on the 14th of August, will now commence on the 10th of October, with all matches set to be played in Kolkata.
With the new protocols in place, a few coaches from both divisions of the league have endorsed the new safety measures. Bhawanipore coach Sankarlal Chakraborty and FC Bengaluru United coach Richard Hood have been steadfast in their endorsements while also stating that the regulations may bring the best out of the players on the football pitch.
"The COVID-19 safety regulations put into place by the AIFF will be essential in maintaining the safety of the players and those around them. Once we ensure that, we can all enjoy the good football played by them on the pitch."
Richard Hood, whose Bengaluru United side is looking for promotion into the I-League, stated that the new regulations gave his side confidence that the tournament will go through smoothly:
“Having gone through the SOPs outlining the safety regulations, it gives us complete confidence and belief that the 20 odd days in Kolkata for the Hero I-League Qualifiers will go through smoothly in a tightly managed process that has prioritized player safety through restrictions and monitoring.”
All we have to do is comply and take extra measures during the I-League qualifiers: Richard Hood
Hood added that they will all take extra measures during the I-League qualifiers while focusing on the job at hand, which is to gain promotion. He said:
“With all of this in place all we have to do is comply and take extra measures at the personal level to lock in on our focus on getting out there and fighting for promotion.
“The new normal set in from day one in our homes and everyday life in terms of heading out only when necessary, wearing a mark, disinfecting all contact surfaces of our body and maintain social distance.”
Hood also stated that the adaptation process that they have undergone in their camp amid the ongoing pandemic has been smooth:
“The adaptation process has been set in months ago and were further implemented in our camp in the past few weeks to fully prepare on and off the pitch for what is coming our way.”Published 20 Sep 2020, 12:37 IST