ISL: Erik Paartalu wants to stay at Bengaluru FC even after rift with the club
Just two weeks before their crucial AFC Cup fixture, one of their key players Erik Paartalu, is missing from their training camps.
Bengaluru FC will face Maldives's side Club Eagles on 15th August in the AFC Cup playoff match. Just two weeks before their crucial fixture, one of their key players Erik Paartalu, is missing from their training camps.
The club is training at the Inspire Institute of Sport in Bellary. All their new signings, Prince Ibara, Danish Farooq, Jayesh Rane, Musavu King, and Alan Costa have joined the training camp to prepare for their key AFC Cup fixture. One of the most loved BFC players, Australian Erik Paartalu, has not been seen in the training camps until now and is rumored to have not even landed in India.
The AFC Cup fixtures were supposed to happen in May, and Bengaluru FC had even landed in the Maldives for their matches. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) postponed the matches on request from the Maldives government after two BFC players had allegedly breached the bio-bubble. The players' names were never officially confirmed, but according to reports, the two players were Juanan Gonzalez and Erik Paartalu. Even ex-BFC goalkeeping coach Julen Esnaola was also one of the people who broke the quarantine rules, and then parted with the club a few days later.
A month after the incident Juanan mutually parted with the club, and then after departing from BFC joined Hyderabad FC on a one-year contract. The situation with Erik is still unclear, but the player has been missing from BFC's training camps.
There were rumors that Erik might be joining Odisha FC, but the Bangalore-based club still contracts the player. The Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has issued a statement supporting Erik Paartalu and his situation with former ISL champions Bengaluru FC.
This is what the PFA had to say about the situation.
The PFA is aware of media reports and speculation in relation to Erik Paartalu's absence from the Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC's pre-season training camp and wishes to clarify the situation.
Erik remains a contracted player of Bengaluru FC and is committed to fulfilling his obligations in that respect. Disappointingly, the club is currently excluding him from training and ignoring his repeated requests for arrangements to be made for his return. Accordingly, any suggestion that Erik has simply not reported for training, or that he is purposefully absent, is incorrect. The club has been reminded that it is Erik's fundamental right as a professional footballer that he be given access to training and the opportunity to compete in official matches with his teammates.
Erik has been a loyal and valuable member of the club for several years and is disappointed with his current treatment by the club.
The PFA will continue to support Erik during this difficult period as we work towards his reinstatement
There were also rumors that Bengaluru FC were looking to sign an Asian player, who would meet their AFC quota for foreigners in the AFC Cup and the ISL. The rumors would not have persisted if Erik was a part of Bengaluru FC's plan. Erik has been a part of Bengaluru FC since 2017 and has won several titles with the team. The relationship between the club and the player is getting sour, as he acknowledged the support given by the PFA supporting him in the matter with BFC. Erik has been a loyal servant of the club and wants to play for the club till the end of the contract, but only time will tell if this happens or not.
What it looks like from the outside, it can either be a case of Bengaluru FC wanting to sell the player because he is not a part of their plan anymore or after the AFC Cup incident the club is offering him a contract termination as punishment but he is not ready to accept it. These are mere speculations, and one can only conclude after an official statement from both teams, or getting to know both sides of the story.
The club owner Parth Jindal had issued a statement on Twitter on May 9th regarding the players and coaches who had breached the bio-bubble, and he said there will be serious consequences for them.
(This is what the goalkeeping coach had to say on his social media account regarding the incident)
Bengaluru FC have been one of the most successful Indian clubs in the last decade, and one of the most professional clubs off the pitch. After the statement issued by the PFA, BFC fans would be expecting to see an official statement from the club on this controversy.
We reached out to Bengaluru FC for an official statement, or quote, to get to know their side of the story. The club is not offering any comment on this matter at this point.