The midfielder has not received a notification from the club to join the Blues’ AFC Cup preparatory camp.

Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu has openly expressed his desire to fulfil his contract at Bengaluru FC. A statement released by the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) on Tuesday clarified the situation on behalf of the 35-year-old.

“Erik Paartalu remains a contracted player of Bengaluru FC and is committed to fulfilling his obligations in that respect. Disappointingly, the club is currently excluding him from training. They are also ignoring his repeated requests for arrangements to be made for his return. Accordingly, any suggestion that Erik has simply not reported for training, or that he is purposefully absent, is incorrect,” the statement read.

“The club has been reminded that it is Erik’s fundamental right as a professional footballer that he be given access to training and the opportunity to compete in official matches with his teammates. Erik has been a loyal and valuable member of the club for several years. He is disappointed with his current treatment by the club.”

The PFA also promised support for Paartalu in his efforts to return to the club in India.

The situation so far

All was well at Bengaluru FC till May. By then, they had also played their first AFC Cup 2021 Play-off against Tribhuwan Army. The 2018-19 ISL champions beat the Nepalese club 5-0 and booked a spot in the second play-off against Club Eagles. In May, Bengaluru FC travelled to Maldives to face their new opponents, where Erik Paartalu, Juanan and goalkeeping coach Julen Esnaola reportedly broke COVID-19 norms by venturing out of the bio-bubble.

Due to this, AFC postponed both the AFC Cup play-off and group stage matches indefinitely. This, in turn, led the club to consider replacing the trio, sources close to the developments have told Khel Now.

Defender Juanan Gonzalez had a year’s contract remaining at Bengaluru FC. However, both parties mutually agreed to part ways before the defender joined Hyderabad FC on a free transfer. Stefan Toonen has replaced Esnaola, and has already joined the Blues in their ongoing AFC Cup preparatory camp.

Esnaola’s comments on the situation at Maldives and more

Sources have informed Khel Now that Bengaluru FC want to do the same with Erik Paartalu, who also has a year left in his contract. We understand that the Blues are hoping that he finds a new club soon, so that the transition will be easy for both parties.

Bengaluru FC at AFC Cup 2021

After a disappointing ISL 2020-21 campaign, Bengaluru are hoping to do well in the AFC Cup. Their play-off clash against Club Eagles will take place on August 15. If the Blues win, they will advance to competition’s group stages, where they will join ATK Mohun Bagan, Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings and Maldives’ Maziya S&RC in Group D. The group-toppers will progress to the knockout stages.

Under new head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli, the club have already made several signings. Rohit Kumar, Sarthak Golui, Jayesh Rane, Danish Farooq, Bidyashagar Singh, Alan Costa and Prince Ibara are among the new arrivals, while the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Suresh Singh Wangjam have signed multi-year contract extensions.

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