The Qatar government has waived off the quarantine period for the Indian football team, thereby giving it a period of roughly two weeks to train ahead of the World Cup/Asian Cup qualifying match scheduled on June 3 in at Doha.
After receiving the necessary clearance from the host nation, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has asked the squad selected by national coach Igor Stimac to assemble in Delhi and undergo a process of COVID-19 testing and screening before taking the flight to Doha.
Effectively there will two rounds of testing as the players have been asked to get a negative COVID-19 test report before reaching Delhi. They will then undergo the second round of testing at the capital to complete the screening process and are expected to travel to Doha by May 20.
“Only those who clear the COVID screening process will travel. For that the Qatari authorities have agreed to issue visa on arrival in case the players are unable to get the necessary clearance before their departure,” said a senior AIFF official.
The team will travel to Qatar by a special flight from Delhi before restarting their World Cup/Asian Cup qualification campaign after almost 18 months. India is scheduled to play its remaining three matches against Qatar (June 3), Bangladesh (June 7) and Afghanistan (June 15). The Indian team played its last group match in November 2019 (losing 1-0 against Oman). It was supposed to take on Qatar at Bhubaneswar in October 2020 but the pandemic forced a postponement of the fixtures.