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Colombian side Aguilas forced to play with seven players due to Covid-19 outbreak

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The owner of a Colombian football team forced to play a first division match with just seven players after a coronavirus outbreak in the camp, hit out at authorities on Monday.

Aguilas had 16 players unavailable after contracting Covid-19 while another seven were injured, meaning they could only field a team made up of seven players for Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Boyaca Chico.

“They should have accepted the request” to postpone the match, said Aguilas owner Fernando Salazar in an interview with W Radio.

“It hurts me that today we are subjected to derision and immersed in this situation that could have been avoided.”

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He said the club, from Rionegro in the northwest, had sent several requests to Dimayor, the Colombian football league, to postpone the match but they were rejected.

Dimayor president Fernando Jaramillo defended the decision.

“This rule comes from the International Football Association Board … a team must field a minimum of seven players,” Jaramillo told Caracol Radio.

IFAB is the body that determines the rules of association football. It merely states that a team cannot play with fewer than seven players but does not prevent governing bodies from postponing games if they have reason to do so.

Aguilas lined up with a reserve goalkeeper in defence but the match lasted only 80 minutes before another injury left them with just six players on the field, ending the game.

The defeat leaves Aguilas 17th in the 19-team top-flight with one game left. Jaramillo said the final round of fixtures would not be postponed either meaning Aguilas will likely have to play that too without a full quota of players.jss/ol/bc/iwd

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