International success is coming in hockey, but it is largely at the hands of BKSP players. Bangladesh’s domestic hockey is just a story of disappointment. Where stuck hockey?
The memory of the country’s first franchise hockey league last November at the Maulana Bhasani Stadium is still fresh. All grievances from the hockey family were then sent home for a few days. Many hoped that a new day would return to domestic hockey. There will be no shortage of money. Clubs won’t hold back. At least domestic games will be regular.
But it was actually an illusion. At the end of the franchise league, everything is back to normal. The old tussle with the domestic league is still going on. In 2018, the first division hockey, which was last held after four years, changed teams last November 21-24. But two and a half months later, there is still no news of the game being built on the field. Such an incident is unprecedented in Bangladesh sports arena.
The demand of 12 clubs of the first division league, they have to give financial donations. In 2021, the Hockey Federation has donated 1 crore rupees from the Prime Minister to 12 clubs of the Premier League. Now 12 clubs in the first division are also asking for something like that. The federation also promised some grants for the sake of bringing the game to the ground. The clubs are not agreeing to play because that promise is not being fulfilled.
Former national hockey player Kamrul Islam (Kismat), the hockey editor of Dhaka Wanderers, one of the clubs of the first division hockey league, said, “The federation told 12 clubs of the first division to pay Tk 2 lakh before the change of teams.” But even though the change of party is over, it has not given yet. When the money is paid, the game will begin.
If the club will run with the money of the federation, it is not a solution. But if the federation has made a promise, they have to take the responsibility of fulfilling it. As Kamrul Imlam is also the joint secretary of the Hockey Federation, the question was asked to him – why is the federation not fulfilling its promises? But the answer was not found, ‘I don’t know that. Acting general secretary, vice-presidents can say. Kamrul Islam claims that even if the federation’s fixed deposit is broken if necessary, the club should be given money. It is not understandable why it is not being broken now due to such need.
Federation Fixed Deposits are not intended to grant grants to clubs. But as hockey has no other activities, there is a proposal to break the fixed deposit and put the clubs on the field. Helplessness in the voice of Mohammad Yusuf, Acting General Secretary of the Federation, “We have told the clubs that the Federation has a financial crisis. But the club will not play without money. But the game must begin. Therefore, the vice-presidents told the clubs to discuss with the president (Chief of the Air Force Air Marshal Sheikh Abdul Hannan) and arrange the grant. Now the president will decide.
It is learned that two sponsors have been contacted for donations but have not received any response. So the idea of giving grants to the clubs from the federation is going on. A decision in this regard is expected to be made in the next one-two weeks.
But in the end, it will be a bad example if the clubs are paid money, former national player and coach Mahbub Haroon thinks, ‘if the federation gives money, I will play, otherwise I will not play, it cannot happen. I have never seen this in Bangladesh hockey in the past. What is the benefit of them if they say they will not play the club?
Hockey in Bangladesh has always been a hostage in the hands of the club. The club officials sit in the chair of the federation, conflicts between them have been exposed many times. The latest came after former general secretary Muminul Haque Saeed went into hiding on charges of involvement in the casino scandal.
Acting General Secretary Mohammad Yusuf could not be accepted by the hockey organizers of Old Dhaka. Yusuf is playing hockey in Dhaka despite being the organizer of Chittagong. So no ‘teamwork’ has developed in the hockey federation. This has affected the overall performance. Although many things have changed in the sports arena of Bangladesh in the past few years, only hockey has not changed.
The franchise league is a beacon of hope in stagnant domestic hockey. But now there is disappointment with that league too. Two and a half months have passed since the end of the league, but the local players have received only half of their remuneration so far. The franchisees could not pay the remaining amount even after being given time several times.
The anger among the players is increasing. Ishtiaq Sadek, chief executive officer of Ace, the country’s first franchise hockey rights buying company, is disappointed about not being able to pay the players’ salaries on time. Therefore, the remaining money cannot be given to the local players.