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Coronavirus: Kolkata derby could be postponed

04:01 GMT+4 14/03/2020
Mohun Bagan East Bengal
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has confirmed that no sporting event shall take place in the state in March...

The second Kolkata derby of I-League 2019-20 season, which was supposed to take place on March 15, will be postponed to a later date amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had initially stated that all the remaining I-League matches including the derby will be played behind closed doors.

The statement from the Indian FA read, “Adhering to the advisories issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, All India Football Federation has decided to complete the remaining matches of the 2019-20 edition of the Hero I-League behind closed doors.

“Besides team officials and players; match officials (referees), medical staff, TV Crew, accredited media, and required security staff — none would be allowed to be in the premises of the stadium on match day, and during official practice the preceding day.”

However, a few hours later, West Bengal Chief Minister Smt. Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with the state's sports bodies in which AIFF vice president and the chairman of the league committee, Subrata Dutta, Mohun Bagan general secretary Srinjoy Bose and East Bengal senior official Debabrata Sarkar were present.

The West Bengal Chief Minister stated in the meeting that the government will not allow any sporting event to take place in the state for the next 15 days. The Chief Minister had further added that another meeting will be called on March 30 to discuss further course of action.

As the Salt Lake stadium, where the Kolkata derby was supposed to be played, belongs to the West Bengal state, the AIFF could be forced to postpone the derby.