On 3 January, the I-League was suspended by the AIFF after a fresh COVID-19 outbreak hit the participating teams inside the bio-bubble here.
The call to suspend the I-League was taken after consulting Dr Harsh Mahajan, member of AIFF’s Sports Medical Committee.
“Personally looking at the wave, maybe two weeks down the line one may revisit the issue and allow spectators to a limited extent,” said Dr Mahajan during a virtual media interaction on Sunday.
“If we look at the advisory of the health ministry, the states have been asked to open up and I think we are in the right position to do so in a graded manner.
“As we go along, we may reshape how to go about the bio-bubble. There is less than one per cent positivity rate now and unlocking is happening all over the country. But we will be very, very cautious.”
The I-League is not leaving any stone unturned for a smooth resumption and as part of the new precautionary measures, all teams took three tests before entering a hard quarantine of seven days, during which they underwent three more tests.
The hotel and stadium staff are also being tested on a regular basis and Dr Mahajan has no problems in being overcautious this time round.
“We have extended the quarantine period by two days and also asked for more tests prior to entering the bio bubble,” he said.
On allowing spectators, CEO, Leagues and Development, Sunando Dhar said: “The first few weeks, we want to be really sure how things pan out.”
“We don’t want to take any undue risk. For us and everyone concerned, it’s more important to have the tournament rather than taking a risk.
“For the first month, till March 28, we don’t have any plans to let the crowds in, but if the situation further improves and if we see the cases becoming zero or negligible definitely we can take a call,” Dhar added.
Players may struggle with the long break but Dhar said: “The good thing was we took a prompt decision only after one match (round). It’s not that half of the league was over and we took a break.”
“Obviously it’s not ideal for clubs and players to have a break but I don’t think it will have that much of an impact. Teams won’t be that affected,” he concluded.