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AFC Cup: Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan's AFC Cup matches in limbo

06:53 BST 06/05/2021
David Williams, Pritam Kotal, Roy Krishna, ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United
Maldives was selected as the centralised venue to host Group D AFC Cup matches...

The Maldives FA have initiated talks with the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) to postpone the AFC Cup matches of Group D because of the worsening Coronavirus situation. 

Ahmed Mahloof, Maldives' Minister for Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, confirmed the development on social media. 

The country is witnessing a sharp rise in cases after mid-April and keeping in mind public health and players' safety, the football association wants the matches to be postponed to a later date when conditions improve. 

On April 16, Maldives had just 82 cases along with a seven-day average of 84 cases per day. But since then, the numbers have shot up astronomically and on May 5, there were 734 new cases in the country. The numbers are increasing at an alarming rate which has forced Maldives FA to request AFC to postpone the games. 

Bangladesh's Abahani Dhaka Limited had already withdrawn from the tournament due to the worsening situation in the country and hence Bengaluru FC was supposed to face Club Eagles in their playoff fixture on May 11 in Male, Maldives.

"The sub-committee also agreed to award the Playoff Stage slot to Club Eagles, who will now face India’s JSW Bengaluru FC for a place in the AFC Cup Group D on May 11, 2021, in the Maldives," Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed via a press note on Friday.

Now it remains to be seen whether this match goes ahead as scheduled.

The winner of this fixture will join ATK Mohun Bagan, Basundhara Kings (Bangladesh), and Maziya (Maldives) in Group D. The group stages were slated to start from May 14 in Male. 

The Mariners were supposed to start training from April 26 in Kolkata but due to an increase in cases in India, their foreign contingent along with coach Antonio Habas have not travelled to India. 

There are doubts over Fijian Roy Krishna's participation as the Pacific Island nation has gone into lockdown.