Midfielder Erik Paartalu and Bengaluru FC appear to be on a collision course after the Australian stopped just short of accusing his employer of denying him a chance to train, ahead of the AFC Cup playoff clash against Club Eagles FC on August 15 in Maldives.
On Tuesday, Paartalu, a BFC midfield mainstay for the past four years and a contracted player until the end of the 2021-22 season, endorsed on Twitter a statement issued by Professional Footballers Australia – the body representing the interests of Australian football players – that called for his “reinstatement”.
“Erik remains a contracted player of Bengaluru FC. Disappointingly, the club is 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,” the statement read.
BFC refused to comment on the issue.
It is worth noting that the AFC Cup playoff was called off in May after reports had emerged of a breach of COVID-19 protocols by BFC squad members in Male. A photo in a Channel News Maldives report had shown Paartalu and two other BFC members outdoors.
BFC owner Parth Jindal had apologised for the “inexcusable behavior of three of our foreign players/staff while in Male” and had promised to take “strictest action” against the offenders.