The Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match between Hyderabad FC and Jamshedpur FC in Bambolim, Goa was postponed on Monday, hours before their scheduled 7:30 PM IST kickoff due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (More Football News)
The ISL, in a statement, said that "the decision has been taken in consultation with the League's medical team taking into account the inability of Jamshedpur FC to field a team."
This is the second match to be called off in two days. On Sunday, the ISL was forced to postpone the match between Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC in Vasco. Prior to that, two more matches had been postponed this season after the coronavirus breached the ISL's bio-bubble.
At least 15 players should be available per team for a match to happen. Otherwise, it would be rescheduled to a later date.
"The League will look to rearrange the fixture to a later date. The health and safety of all personnel in various bubbles remains our priority, and the League & Clubs will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly," the statement added.
PTI reports that several Jamshedpur FC players have been kept under isolation as close contacts after at least a couple of team-mates tested positive for COVID-19.
Jamshedpur FC played their last match on January 11 when they beat East Bengal 1-0. They have not been allowed to train since then due to COVID-19 cases.
These postponements reflect a worrying trend in India's premier football league. After ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur FC have become the third outfit in the 11-team league to have active coronavirus cases.
Earlier, the I-League was suspended for at least six weeks following an outbreak in its Kolkata bio-bubble.
But the league, unlike the I-league, remains steadfast to complete the season despite its stated 'priority' to safeguard the "health and safety of all personnel".
India captain Sunil Chhetri, who is in the Bengaluru FC camp, had earlier shared the ordeal of living in a bubble. He wrote in a series of tweets, "Only if you’re in the bubble, will you know how hard and frustrating this is. You’re away from family for half a year, cooped up in a room, anything outdoors is a luxury, there’s no change in setting to help you shake off a bad result – I could go on."
Chhetri, 37, had tested positive for coronavirus in 2021.
"To get through this is not something you can train for. It has nothing to do with skill, talent or experience. This is up there on the list of sacrifices we’re making, to be able to play the game we love. It’s a battle we’re all fighting in our ways," the star striker added.
Only if you’re in the bubble, will you know how hard and frustrating this is. You’re away from family for half a year, cooped up in a room, anything outdoors is a luxury, there’s no change in setting to help you shake off a bad result – I could go on.— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) January 15, 2022
Jamshedpur are second in the ISL 2021-22 points table with 19 in their kitty from 11 games. Hyderabad have 17 points from 11 matches with four wins and five draws. But they were winless in the last three outings.