The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday placed a three-point proposal for the Divisional and District Football Associations (DFAs) before State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel.
The game's local governing body proposed the allotment of Tk 12 lakh for each of the 72 DFAs per year in addition to allocating district stadiums for six months in order to run the football league and other tournaments. The BFF also suggested the provision of offices for DFAs at district stadiums.
51 DFA presidents or their representatives and a number of BFF higher-ups, including president Kazi Salahuddin, attended the closed-door meeting. After hearing the concerns of grassroots organisers, the sports minister promised that he would instruct the presidents of government-approved District Sports Associations (DSAs) to allocate district stadiums for tournaments and allot spaces for the DFAs. However, Russel did not make any promises relating to the Tk 12 lakh monetary aid.
After the meeting, a few DFA members declared the proposal impractical with some outright declaring the meeting to be a farce.
Sherpur DFA president Manik Datta said that DFAs, the main beneficiaries of the proposal, were not even approached beforehand to discuss the matter.
"Although the BFF did not discuss the matter with us, the proposal is good but unrealistic. The government allocates Tk 4 to 5 lakh to each of its affiliated DSAs per year, so how can they provide Tk 12 lakh per year to DFAs, who are not affiliated with the government?" Datta said. "To be honest, it is nothing but a token discussion."
Chapainawabganj DFA member Toufiqul Islam Tofa echoed the sentiment, adding that they requested funds to be given directly to the DFAs rather than through the BFF.
"It is a bluff. We did not even get the money from the BFF for completing district leagues that the government allocated to DFAs. So this time, we have requested the sports minister to allocate government money directly to DFAs instead of the BFF," informed Tofa.
On the other hand, Narail DFA president Ashiqur Rahman Miku felt that some good may yet come from the discussion.
"The problem is that BFF is a speaker and DFAs are listeners. We believe the BFF will realise what they should do now after this discussion. You can never take football forward without DFAs," said Miku.
Meanwhile, BFF president Kazi Salahuddin was hopeful of getting support from the government.
"It seems to me that the minister is also emphasising on those things -- money, ground, office. We are satisfied with the meeting with the sports minister," said Salahuddin.