Kings to seek compensation for AFC Cup cancellation

Sports Correspondent

11 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Kings to seek compensation for AFC Cup cancellation

Bashundhara Kings Latin American stars Robson Azevedo da Silva Robinho, left, Jonathan da Silveira Fernandes Reis and Hernan Barcos, right, pose with Kings’ official scarf after arriving at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital on Thursday morning.

Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Champions Bashundhara Kings will seek compensation from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for canceling AFC Cup 2020 as the Bangladeshi side would financially suffer heavy losses after recruiting three ace foreign players for the meet. 

Kings President Imrul Hassan told The Daily Sun that they would inform AFC about their financial losses. 

“We were expecting an announcement like this. We’ve started our camp with local players. Foreigners arrived today (Thursday). However, we will continue our camp for the domestic league. Besides, we will write to the AFC informing our heavy financial losses regarding foreign players recruitment,” he said.

AFC cancelled the event in its executive committee meeting, chaired by AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on Thursday.

About the cancellation, AFC wrote on their website: “In view of the logistics in coordinating the five zones of the AFC Cup and completing the Inter Zone matches, the AFC Executive Committee also agreed that the pandemic created complexities which constituted a Force Majeure event and, with sadness, led to the cancellation of the 2020 competition.”

Besides, the committee postponed AFC U-16 Championship, AFC U-19 Championship and AFC Solidarity Cup with no new dates announced while deferred the final of AFC Champions League and AFC Futsal Championship to December.

The BPL champions, which for the first time were playing in double-leg Group E (South Asia) of AFC Cup 2020, were scheduled to play against Maldivian club Maziya SRC on October 23 and November 4, TC Sports on November 1 and Indian club Chennai City FC on October 26 and October 29, all at the centralised venues in Maldives.

This new centralised format was announced by AFC Competitions Committee in an online meeting with three participating members of Group E on June 25. Considering the pandemic’s impact on footballers’ contracts, the committee also planned to open a new registration window in September, so that clubs will be able to register new booters to set up a new team for the competitions.

After the announcement by AFC competitions committee, Bashundhara Kings recruited two new Brazilian midfielders namely Jonathan da Silveira Fernandes Reis and Robson Azevedo da Silva Robinho on August. Also, they planned to extend their 10-month-contract with Argentine forward Hernan Barcos in November.

The ‘Transfermarkt’ claimed both Fernandes and Robinho joined Kings for a transfer fee of euro 725 thousand each or approximately Tk 72, 670,317 which is the highest transfer amount paid for any foreign player in Bangladesh. On the other hand, their Argentine star Hernan Barcos joined BPL champions for euro 500 thousand or approximately Tk 50,408, 597.   

The country’s top-flight outfit, which suspended camp on March, resumed it last week at the club premises with 22 local players and 8 coaching staff. Hernan Barcos, Jonathan da Silveira Fernandes Reis and Robson Azevedo da Silva Robinho arrived Dhaka on Thursday morning.

“They are now at quarantine and will undergo COVID-19 tests on Saturday. Hopefully, they may join the rest of the squad on Monday. They will take part in the domestic league. I believe their arrival will boost the confidence of the local players,” Kings President further said.

Kings, which emerged as champions in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2018-19, started the season 2019-20 clinching their maiden title in the curtain raiser Federation Cup on January. They were in sixth slot securing 10 points with three wins, one draw and three defeats before the cancellation of BPL on March.

The Professional Football League Committee of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) proposed clubs to take part in the 2020-21 season without foreign players. The committee gave clubs the opportunity to be able to retain their local players in the 2020-21 season and proposed them to pay players the full amount of contract money for the 2019-20 season and only 20 to 25 percent for the 2020-21 season. They also proposed to shorten the schedule and restrict the number of venues to 3-4.

Refusing the proposal, Bashundhara Kings demanded to the right to field foreign players in the upcoming league.

“We remain firm in our position and will not accept their proposal. We can’t play without foreign players. We’ve already sent a letter to the federation and told them to consider our present situation,” Imrul concluded.