New Delhi: The Indian football team's departure for the Caribbean tour has been delayed due to riots in England, where the team was to spend a night on its way to Barbados, but the AIFF claimed that the tour is "very much on" despite the postponement.
The AIFF is now working out ways to either send the team via Dubai or other European countries or arrange for a journey through which the players will not have to step out of the airport in London.
The team was to leave this morning for the three-match friendly series but the AIFF postponed the journey at the last moment taking into consideration the players' safety in a place that is marred by violence.
"Though it has been delayed, the tour is very much on. The delay could be by a day or, worse case, by 36 hours," an AIFF official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
"It is subject to availability of tickets, time and cost factor, which is being looked after by the sponsors and organisers of the match, but the AIFF is trying its best," he added.
"We are looking at a way where the players can remain inside the airport in London, or maybe, send the team via Dubai or some other European countries."
The footballers' safety is of paramount importance to the AIFF as Armando Colaco's boys' are not going to be the guest of Football Association (FA), unlike the Indian cricketers who are the guest of the England Cricket Board (ECB).
"Quite a few people are saying that the Indian cricket team is based in Birmingham now, but being the guest of the ECB, their safety is the responsibility of the English board. Our footballers are not the guest of FA. We have to think about a lot of things," the official said.
India, who are schedule to play against Barbados on August 17, should reach there at least two days prior to the match.
The opening fixture in Barbados will be followed by matches against Trinidad & Tobago on August 21 and Guyana on August 24.
First Published: Friday, August 12, 2011, 15:10