After a four-month interruption, Iran’s football league resumed to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with around 22 players from two top clubs testing positive for the virus, Anadolu reports.
Eleven players and a staff member of Esteghlal, one of the oldest and biggest football clubs in Iran, have contracted the virus, according to team sources.
Esteghlal, eight-time Iran Professional League (IPL) champions and twice Asian champions, are positioned at the sixth spot in the football league 2020 that resumed on June 25.
The other football club hit by the virus in the middle of the season is Foolad, a team from southwestern Khuzestan province that competes in Iran’s marque football league.
The club officials revealed that 16 members of the club, including 11 players, had contracted the disease.
Interestingly, the league resumed on June 25 with a game between Esteghlal and Foolad, in which Foolad defeated Esteghlal 2-1.
The match, originally slated in March, was delayed following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran late February. The league resumed after 118 days, with empty stands.
Following the infections, the Esteghlal team, which was scheduled to face Pars Jonoubi team in their next game of the league in southern city of Jam, refused to travel at the last minute.
Iran’s national football federation, however, made it mandatory in a statement for the team to travel to Jam for the game as scheduled.
Esteghlal and Foolad, beside other clubs, had strongly opposed the resumption of the league at a time when the pandemic was seeing a new surge in the country.
One of the hardest-hit country in the Middle East region, Iran’s coronavirus cases have reached over 245,600 and 11,931 deaths.