‘This is something beyond our control’

22 Apr 2022 | 08:16 | Football

Match-fixing in Bangladesh’s domestic football is nothing new, something that persists in their ugly heads almost every season. Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) President Kazi Salahuddin shared his stance on the aforementioned conundrum in an exclusive interview with Anisur Rahman of The Daily Starexcerpts of which are as follows:

The Daily Star (DS): As the president of the BFF, how do you feel when you hear about the allegations of match-fixing in the domestic league?

Kazi Salahuddin (KS): It was a very sad story for me. But remember, we took action against such things last year. Match editing has been stopped at BPL [Bangladesh Premier League] but it shows up in BCL [Bangladesh Championship League]. You can write about match-fixing allegations in the newspaper but I need proof to punish them. We have formed a committee to investigate the matter.

DS: There are whispers of match-fixing allegations against clubs that barely have any background but are allowed to play live BCL. What will you say about it?

KS: The idea that we have is to allow financially and technically strong teams to join the BCL as some clubs do not provide money for player meals. Therefore, if the trial panel finds the defendant guilty, it will most likely suspend the BCL for two years. We will then start the new tournament through the AFC licensing process.

DS: There is no evidence that the referee and the match commissioner mentioned anything in their match reports when it comes to a possible repair incident. What do you say about it?

KS: I sat with them [officials] five to six times. I told them that if you don’t mention it in the reports, I can’t punish anyone. The reports must come from you. If you’re afraid to report, then you don’t have to run the game. We have paid them 8 crore Tk so far. I think the BFF should stick to the process but honestly, this is something out of our control.

DS: There is also an allegation that the BFF did not take any initiative until the media reported on the match-fixing. What is it that you undertake?

KS: That’s not right. We do a lot of things behind the scenes. We sit with the referees, talk to the players, all this has yet to be revealed in the media. We can suspend referees but not publicly due to FIFA guidelines. Besides, we can’t punish anyone without proof but the media has the advantage to write what they see.

DS: How to solve this match-fixing problem?

KS: If I suspend seven and ban two, two more will appear to commit the same crime; what can i do then? It is a continuous process. I never compromise on three things – racism, drugs and match-fixing but I must have proof before I can punish anyone.

DS: How are match-fixing, match-fixing and betting destroying the development of football in the country?

KS: That is a big obstacle. If such things happen in domestic football, it will be difficult to develop national football. In fact, the BFF has no role in national development, but only plays a role in organizing tournaments, tournaments and providing training facilities for the national football team. That’s the role of every football federation in the world but in Bangladesh it doesn’t quite fit. That is why we have established academies for boys and girls when the clubs do not want to contribute to the development of football in the country. We can’t get results until the clubs turn professional.