Clubs worry about future

Sports Correspondent

11 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Most of the participating clubs of country's top tier professional football meet, Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), fear going out of business as coronavirus pandemic has hit their earning sources very hard. Clubs depend on sponsorship or donations, but most of their sponsors have also been facing tough situation since the outbreak.

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) called off the 12th season of the league and Independence Cup 2020 on May 17 as all the participating clubs demanded cancellation of the season due to the financial crisis. The decision was made in an emergency meeting of BFF Executive Committee, chaired by its President Kazi Salahuddin. The committee also canceled the promotion and relegation of the clubs in the ongoing BPL season and announced to open the transfer window for next season in September-October after the situation becomes normal.

BFF earlier halted all of its international and domestic meets including BPL 2019-20, 3rd Women’s Football League (WFL), National School Football Championship and Independence Cup for indefinite period as the government banned public gatherings and enforced lockdown countrywide to slow the spread of coronavirus on March. The 13-team BPL was suspended after six-round of matches being played.

BFF made no decision on players’ contracts before abandonment of the league. Clubs, which have been struggling to survive amid the lockdown, released their overseas players, coaching staff and offered local players to take pay cuts. The federation decided to talk with club officials and players on this issue ahead of starting the new season.

Meanwhile, BFF President Kazi Salahuddin, Vice Presidents Nabil Ahmed MP, Tabith Awal and General Secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag will talk with BPL footballers in a view exchanging meeting on Saturday BFF Artificial Turf.

Arambagh Krira Sangha Vice-President Azaz Mohammed Jahangir said that the federation could play a vital role to mediate between the club and the players.

“There is no pressure from the local players, because they know our condition. We paid them some money in the first phase, but we need to pay some more. Don’t know how we will manage it. We are trying to manage some sponsorship. BFF gave us Tk 2 lakh, it isn't enough. I think they (BFF) could play a vital role in this issue, they can act as the mediator between the club and the players,” he told daily sun.

Concurring Azaz, Multijoddha Sangshad Krira Chakra team Manager Ariful Islam said, “Both clubs and players have to sit down and take a realistic decision on this issue. All of us are facing the financial crisis due to the pandemic, we are all at the same boat.  Let’s see what BFF does.”

Dhaka Abahani Team Manager Satyajit Das Rupu said, “We released our foreign players and coach.  Local players have been staying at their respective home. We have been going through a tough time, I don't know what will happen in future and when will this end.”

BPL Champions Bashundhara Kings have been passing a busy schedule now as Asian Football Confederation (AFC) approved their new schedule with a centralised format for AFC Cup 2020.

According to the schedule, Kings will resume action in the double-leg Group E (South Zone) fixture by taking on Maldivian side Maziya SRC on Oct 23. In their other group matches, Bangladeshi giants will play against Indian club Chennai City FC on Oct 26 and Oct 29, TC Sports on Nov 1 and Maziya SRC on Nov 4. The single-leg Inter zone semi-finals will be held on Nov 24 to Nov 5, single-leg Inter zone final on Dec 2  and single-leg AFC Cup final on Dec12.

Kings are expected to resume their preparation camp in the first week of September.  Ahead of their campaign, they are going to form a strong squad with a bunch of new foreigners. The BPL Champions released Costa Rican forward Daniel Colindres and Tajik defender Akhtam Nazarov while deciding to release another foreign recruit, Kyrgyz midfielder Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov. Their Argentine Striker Hernan Barcos and his compatriot defender Nicholas Delmonte will continue their journey with the club.