The AFC Champions League Group E matches to be played in Goa would have no spectators in attendance, with the recent spike in Covid-19 cases acting as the main driving force. Goa reported its highest daily COVID-19 cases in five months, on Wednesday, with 200 new infections.
FC Goa became the first Indian club to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League after winning the League Winners Shield at the 2019-20 Indian Super League. With the new normal prevalent throughout the globe, the AFC decided to have centralized venues for each Group at the continental event.
As a result, FC Goa were awarded the rights to host the matches of Group E, which consists of teams like Persepolis (Iran), Al-Rayyan (Qatar), winner of the play-offs between Al-Wahada (UAE) and Al-Zawraa (Iraq), along with the ISL outfits. However, the AIFF has announced the matches slated for Goa have no spectators in attendance, with the recent spike in Covid-19 cases acting as the main driving force.
“With rising Covid-19 cases in Goa, it just does not make sense to allow fans. Even India’s cricket games (against England) were played without fans. For IPL too there won’t be fans. At the moment, there is too much of a risk to get fans inside. We have to ensure that we host the league stage without any complications,” said a senior AIFF official, to TOI.
The Group E matches will start on April 14, with FC Goa up against Qatar’s Al-Rayyan in the second fixture of the day, slated for an 8.30 pm (IST) kick-off. Incidentally, Goa reported its highest daily COVID-19 cases in five months, on Wednesday, with 200 new infections.