The start of the suspended I-League is ‘difficult’ and a call would be taken after the 21-day nationwide lockdown claimed an official of the All India Football Federation. Also Read - LaLiga 2020-21 to Begin From September 12, Says President Javier Tebas
The official said that the chances are 50:50 and call can be taken after a meeting with the stakeholders on April 15 after the lockdown is over. Also Read - COVID-19: Why Sunil Chhetri Does Not Prefer Closed-Door Matches
“It’s difficult for I-League to resume. Chances are 50-50. At least one and half month is needed for the tournament to finish. We will take a call after meeting with the stakeholders. The meeting will take place after April 15,” said the official. Also Read - Coach And 10 Players at Peruvian Club Have Coronavirus
Mohun Bagan has already clinched the title with four rounds still to be played.
While there is little at stake for Mohun Bagan, there’s a three-way race among East Bengal, Minerva Punjab (both with 23 points from 16 matches) and Real Kashmir (22 points from 15 matches) for the runners-up slot.
“Life comes first, then football or any other form of entertainment. It’s difficult for us to comment on resumption on the I-League, East Bengal top official Debabrata Sarkar said.
“Definitely no football lover would want a national tournament to be cancelled but it’s a global pandemic now. We have to see and act according to the situation,” he added.
Both the arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have issues to deal with as their Spanish coaches and foreign players want to return home.
East Bengal has five Spaniards, including coach Mario Rivera, along with Jhonny Acosta (Costa Rica) and Kassim Aidara (Senegal) who are stuck in India due to the lockdown.
Mohun Bagan has six foreign players (Fran Morante, Fran Gonzalez, Joseba Beitia from Spain along with Daniel Cyrus of Trinidad, Baba Diawara of Senegal and Komron Turunov of Tajikistan) and coach Kibu Vicuna who are now holed up here.
Former champions Aizawl FC is currently in the relegation zone but four of their remaining five matches are at slated at home.
Aizawl had traveled to Punjab for a closed-door match on March 14 before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(With PTI inputs)