The 6- times Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football champions Dhaka Abahani Limited lost their right to play in the AFC Cup preliminary match against the Club Eagle of the Maldives due to lockdown and travel restriction in Bangladesh.
The Abahani-Eagles clash was supposed to take place in Dhaka on April 21, and the play-offs were scheduled for April 28. However, the Abahani-Eagles match could not happen on time due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in Bangladesh and the resultant countrywide lockdown and travel restrictions
Abahani also chose Kathmandu as host for the match on April 21, but extended flight restrictions meant they could not avail that opportunity.
AFC had given Abahani an extended deadline to host the match. However, the club’s inability to meet that deadline resulted in them withdrawing from the competition. The Dhaka-outfit could not host the match because of the problems caused in the country by the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Later, AFC asked Abahani whether they could host Club Eagles in India but travel restrictions was one of the major hindrances for Abahani, who lastly attempted to host Eagles between May 5 and 7 in Dhaka, which too did not materialise due to the extension of travel restrictions.
In an official statement, the AFC Cup South Zone, the AFC COVID-19 Sub-Committee for AFC Champions League and AFC Cup (West) has also noted the mounting challenges faced by Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka in meeting the extended deadline to host their AFC Cup Preliminary match against Club Eagles of the Maldives.
Taking into careful consideration the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh, the Sub-Committee decided that Abahani Limited Dhaka are considered to have withdrawn from the AFC Cup 2021 and that the situation constituted an event of force majeure.
The Sub-Committee also agreed to award the Playoff Stage slot to Club Eagles, who will now face India’s JSW Bengaluru FC for a place in the AFC Cup Group D on May 11, 2021 in Maldives.
"As per AFC official statement, Bengaluru FC will face Club Eagles in the play-off. The winner will join ATK Mohun Bagan, Basundhara Kings and Maziya S&RC in Group D of the AFC Cup 2021