The AFC Cup quarterfinal between Bengaluru FC and Singapore’s Tampines Rovers will be played behind closed doors on Wednesday after incidents of street violence and vandalism in the city owing to the Cauvery water dispute. In a shocking revelation and disappointment for the West Block Blues and the rest of the Bengaluru FC fan base, it has been confirmed that the much-awaited AFC Cup quarter-final match-up between Bengaluru FC and Tampines Rovers will be played behind closed doors.
"The match timing has also been revised as the kick-off will now take place at 4 pm", AFC announced via their website. All tickets purchased by fans, pertaining to the match will also be refunded.
In a statement released by the club, the Blues announced, “It has been a rather delicate 24 hours for the state of Karnataka and specifically, the city of Bengaluru. In the wake of the recent turn of events and after lengthy consultation with the Bengaluru Police, the AFC and the AIFF, we at Bengaluru FC have had to take an extremely difficult decision of playing Wednesday’s AFC Cup quarterfinal against Tampines Rovers at the Kanteerava Stadium, behind closed doors.”
It seems like it’s been forever that Bengaluru FC and the Indian football fans have waited for this tie to take place. But, the ongoing row between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the Cauvery river has affected the game, as Bengaluru’s huge fan base wouldn’t be allowed inside the Kanteerava Stadium to witness history in the making, as Bengaluru play in the quarter-finals for the first time ever.
Even though the Blues will not have their fans at the venue, the fact that the fixture will be played, in itself will be a huge relief for them. It is worth remembering that Kolkata’s Mohun Bagan were slapped with a one year ban and $3000 fine by the AFC after Kolkata police didn’t give them the permission to host Japanese side Jubilo Iwata during the Durga Puja in 1999.
The five-time S. League Champions will be the happier of the two sides as they would not have to face a daunting Bengaluru crowd. The Stags will be looking to advance to the quarter-final stages for the first time themselves when they host Bengaluru in the second leg in Singapore, due to take place on 21st September.