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Lowly outfits displeased over FIFA Covid fund distribution

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 3 August, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The country’s lowly Bangladesh Premier League and Bangladesh Championship League football clubs showed their dissatisfaction over FIFA’s Covid fund distribution plan.

Bangladesh Football Federation shared a bifurcation plan for the FIFA Covid-19 relief fund last week. The clubs that needed financial aid during this corona pandemic situation aren’t satisfied with the fund’s allocation among the clubs.

BFF got the first installment of USD 5 lakh out of 1.5 million from FIFA last month. As per the plan, the premier league clubs will get Tk 5 lakh each while the championship league clubs will get Tk 3 lakh each.

The third division clubs, divisional associations and district associations will get Tk 1 lakh each. BFF has allocated Tk 1.22 crore for the development of women’s football. The national team will also get a fund but BFF kept that amount secret.

There are no shares for the first division, second division and pioneer clubs in this installment, a BFF official told The Daily Sun on Monday.

Most of the clubs are financially unstable and struggling hard with their crises since the pandemic Covid-19 outbreak last year. Arambagh Krira Sangha’s Vice-President Azaz Mohammed Jahangir detected a disparity in Covid-19 fund utilisation.

“All clubs are not financially in the same position, so their needs are also different. The struggling clubs such as Arambagh have been facing hard situations since the Covid-19 break last year, what can they do with this little fund?” Jahangir said.

The stats show, a lower outfit invested almost Tk 20 lakh in a season. The cost included salaries for players and officials (locals and foreigners), accommodation, rations and transportation.

“The gambling and Covid-19 hit us hard. We lost our sponsorships. But we had to pay players and continue the camp during that time. We are still doing so. We never asked for a whole amount of money, we were urged to pay our losses,” he said.

Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra manager Ariful Islam said the federation should understand the reality if they wanted to help the clubs.

“Last year, there were no leagues except BPL. But they allocated a huge amount of money to women's football, the national team and in other sectors. They are going to invest the fund for the upcoming tours instead of compensating us. Whatever they are offering us in the name of compensation is nothing to us,” Ariful said. “A lower club in BPL invests more than Tk 10 to 15 lakh in each season. The amount Tk 5 lakh or Tk 3 lakh has no use to them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Championship League football clubs aren’t able to arrange sponsors; they are fully dependent on personal contributions.

Dhaka Wanderers Club executive committee member Kamal Hossain said that they had no particular expectations from BFF. “We have earlier talked with them many times about our current situation. We all know that the federation has no income. They depend on the funds from FIFA-AFC, government and sponsorships. How can they help us in this situation? So, we have no special expectations from them,” said Kamal. 

“Yes of course the amount is very little for us. But we have accepted this situation. It is the reality of the sporting arena in our country. If you want to run the football, you have to accept fate,” he concluded.

Elsewhere, FIFA announced their Covid-19 relief fund of USD 1.5 billion for its 211 members amid the pandemic in June last year.

Among South Asian nations, India and Nepal had already received their shares, but FIFA delayed approval of Bangladesh’s share due to raising doubts on BFF’s money management and finance committee.