Coach blames AFC for Covid outbreak

India women’s team head coach Thomas Dennerby on Wednesday blamed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) squarely for the COVID-19 outbreak that led to the host’s ouster from the ongoing Women’s Asian Cup, alleging that his players were infected by the hotel staff in the bio-bubble.
Representative image
Representative image


Dennerby said that India’s dream of taking a shot at the FIFA World Cup was shattered because of the weak bio-bubble created by the Asian governing body. He added that the AFC did not show any “respect, compassion and empathy” to the team while dealing with “extraordinary circumstances” in such a high-stake competition.
“We were all negative [of COVID-19] when we reached the team hotel (in Mumbai on January 13) and after our arrival tests. The first positive case came on the day we went out of the hotel for training. A day later (January 17), seven hotel staff tested positive. It is not rocket science to find out how the outbreak came,” Dennerby said in a virtual interaction.
“From my point of view, it is very clear where it (COVID-19) started; it definitely did not start in the team. It came from the AFC bubble inside the hotel. The hotel staff were tested every six days and not every three days, which is the norm for each team.
“We know the tests were conducted on the hotel staff on January 11 and 17. Seven tested positive on January 18, but the information was given only on January 19 afternoon. We don’t know what the AFC was doing for one whole day,” added the Swede, who also revealed that as many as 19 players and six support staff are currently COVID-19 positive.
India was on Sunday forced out of the Asian Cup after a dozen positive cases in the home team’s camp led to the cancellation of the Chinese Taipei match. Prior to that, a couple of members in the Indian contingent returned positive results. The AFC said that Article 4.1 of the tournament guidelines would apply since India failed to turn up for a match.

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