Sunday, 25 September, 2022

Bangladesh hockey steps into new era

Bangladesh hockey steps into new era
Bashundhara Group Vice-Chairman and T Sports Chairman and Managing Director Safwan Sobhan Tasvir (fifth to right) poses for a photo along with other distinguished personalities during the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signing and Franchise Name Unveiling Ceremony of the inaugural ‘Bangladesh Champions Trophy - BCT 2022’ at a city hotel in the capital on Monday. — REAZ AHMED SUMON

The country’s largest business conglomerate Bashundhara Group created a new history by launching Bangladesh Champions Trophy – the country’s first-ever franchised-based hockey league on Monday.

Bashundhara Group’s sister concern ACE, which is known as a sports management company, signed a five-year deal with the Bangladesh Hockey Federation during a ‘MOU Signing and Franchise Name Unveiling Ceremony’ of the upcoming BCT at a city hotel in the capital.

The inaugural edition of the league is expected to be held in October-November in Dhaka.

A total of six franchises will take part in the tournament with each team having 18 players including four foreigners.

There will be an icon player for each of the six teams, which will also represent six different divisions of the country while the franchises will also have to pick two players from A+ category, three players from A category, five players from B category and rest from other categories.

Five out of six franchises are - Monarch Mart, Walton, ACME, Rupayan Group and Saif Powertec Limited while another big business company is expected to buy the remaining team of the tournament soon.

The BHF President and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sheikh Abdul Hannan, Bashundhara Group Vice-Chairman and T Sports Chairman and Managing Director Safwan Sobhan Tasvir and Chief Executive Officer of ACE Ishtiaque Sadeque were present during the ceremony.

Former BHF GS and first captain of the national hockey team Abdus Sadeuqe, the BHF Acting General Secretary Mohammed Yousuf, Bangladesh cricketer and Monarch Mart Chairman Shakib Al Hasan, Rupayan Group Co-chairman Mahir Ali Khan Ratul, Saif Powertec Director Tarafder Md Ruhul Saif, hockey coach Iman Gobinathan Krishnamurthy, BHF officials, former and current national players and other distinguished personalities were also present in the programme.

ACE CEO Ishtiaque informed that they would introduce a revenue sharing model in the country through BCT.

“We are all partners – the BHF, Bashundhara Group and the franchises. We will decide together regarding the league and share the revenue,” he said.

“Players and supporting staff will get 50 percent of their fees before the league gets underway and the rest of the amount will be given after the league. We will give the federation a bank guarantee. If we fail to pay the players and supporting staff, the federation will pay from that,” he added.

The entire hockey fraternity appreciated Bashundhara Group’s brave initiative. 

“I’m very happy with this initiative. It is a beginning. It should continue so that hockey will revive again in the country,” said former BHF GS Abdus Sadeuqe.

As T Sports will telecast all 34 matches of the tournament, Rupayan Group Co-chairman Mahir believed that they would get many young players in the coming days.

“This league is different from the premier league. I believe many young players will be interested in hockey by watching this league on TV. This type of competition will increase the quality of hockey in the country,” said Mahir.