The Black Panthers will now begin training four days after the rest of the teams if all of their tests come back negative.

The entry of the Mohammedan SC squad into the bio-bubble ahead of the I-League Qualifiers in October is set to be delayed, according to a report from the Times of India. As per AIFF’s mandate, clubs participating in the qualifiers need to conduct RT-PCR test (Gold Standard) twice on the entire squad. However, news has come that the first test performed by the Black Panthers was not what the federation instructed.

As a result of this, Mohammedan SC will need to re-conduct the first test on Wednesday with the second test scheduled for September 28 – which will delay their entry in the bio-bubble. If all reports from both tests are clear, the players and staff will be able to enter the bio-bubble the next day on September 29 – with a delay of four days.

A bio-bubble is a bio-secure sanitized environment sealed completely from the outside world, in which all players, support staff, team managers and match officials will remain until the qualifiers conclude. It minimizes the chances of coming in contact with an infected person, preventing any halt to the sporting events. It is how European football leagues, American basketball and Indian Premier League are currently being played. 

The I-League Qualifiers are scheduled to begin on October 8 and will end on October 19. The qualifiers will see five teams – ARA FC, Bhawanipore FC, Mohammedan Sporting Club, Garhwal FC and FC Bengaluru United – play each other in a round-robin format at the Salt Lake Stadium and the Kalyani Stadium.

The team that secures first place in the round-robin competition will seal promotion to the I-League. The opening day encounter will see Bhawanipore FC face FC Bengaluru United.

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