“Devastated” is the word every Indian player had to say after rounds of unfortunate events happened at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022. But now, as the days move, the ‘blame game’ has just started to safeguard the organizing committee’s image.
India was scheduled to play it’s second group stage match against Chinese Taipei on 23rd January. The match officials, operations staff, Chinese Taipei, and journalists were present at D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on time. The unseen team was India till the last moment, where later, it was declared that the match could not take place due to an insufficient number of players. The number of players who tested positive for COVID was a shock for everyone.
Following the incident, the AFC brought the tournament rule into effect, where Article 4.1 was implemented. The Indian team failing to assemble for the match was “considered to have withdrawn from the relevant competition.”
One of the significant questions raised was the inability of the hosting country itself to keep its team safe.
“This happened to us despite the best measures put in place, and it is sheer bad luck that is happened to us,” AIFF President Praful Patel said in a tweet later.
‘Bad luck’ was the term Praful Patel used.
Meanwhile, the head-coach Thomas Dennerby pointed fingers at AFC for handling the bio-bubble in an unprofessional way.
“We were all negative when we reached the hotel for the tournament. Later seven hotel staff tested positive, which was not informed on that day itself. The hotel staff was not tested every three days,” said the head coach.
“Since the COVID breach was not our fault, the AFC should have found out a solution. It was an exceptional situation, and AFC could have taken steps like postponing the match by a few days,” he added.
The statement made by the Head Coach accusing AFC is surprising in many ways.
“AIFF is in charge of COVID-19 testing & management,” said a source.
Did Dennerby misunderstand something? The hosting federation is usually permitted to release reports under the AFC letterhead whenever AFC competitions take place.
When peeped into the regulatory framework of “special rules applicable to AFC competitions during the COVID-19 pandemic” Article 5.1.2 states that – “the host organisation shall be responsible for, organising & covering the cost of the COVID-19 testing process for the AFC Delegation and participating team upon their arrival to the host country and on the ongoing basis, as well as for organising and covering the cost of the COVID-19 testing process for participating teams.
“This shall include, without limitation, the purchase of testing kits, the delivery of testing, the analysis of samples and the results management process. The host organization shall ensure that these obligations are discharged using appropriately skilled personnel and promptly, in the utmost confidence.“
Moreover, not only India, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have also had cases in their camps where the coaching staff tested positive earlier.
“Let there be no fingers pointed at any. We need to understand this is a pandemic situation, and no bubble is foolproof around the world,” said Praful Patel in the same tweet.
AFC Women’s Asian Cup was a chance for India to enter FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. With their dreams shattered, the whole team is now locked in their rooms.
At present, 19 players and six staff of the Indian team have tested positive.
What word should be used for the chaos happened due to mismanagement?
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