Same old story | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 17, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:35 AM, May 17, 2016

Same old story

Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) president Kazi Salahuddin promised a lot of reforms when he was elected for a third term last month. But unfortunately he is confronted with the same old problem of keeping the domestic competitions rolling uninterrupted.  

While the established football nations are about to wrap up their 2015-16 season, the BFF is still struggling to start its own -- the 9th Bangladesh Premier League. The top-tier competition was scheduled to start after the Federation Cup, has now been stalled due to the Bangladesh team's preparation for next month's Asian Cup Qualifier play-offs against Tajikistan and Bhutan.

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The BFF's decision to conduct a long camp raised questions with many arguing that playing in a tournament instead of having a training camp better prepares the players for an international match or tournament.

Anywhere in the established football world there is no instance of domestic football being suspended due to national commitments but the BFF is yet to convince their own clubs, who are hell bent on not featuring in the league/tournament without their players drafted in the national team.

In the last eight years, the BFF managed to prepare the calendar for only two seasons and even then were hardly able to maintain the schedule. Thus the season was deferred every year until it ultimately disappeared.

The BFF had earlier started the domestic season either in October or November but in the last two seasons it was started in February and April respectively, raising the prospect of a season being completely lost.      

Ever since the professional football league was introduced in India, the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) started its season in January and not a single domestic competition was interrupted for the preparation of its national team.

India are also taking part in the Asian Cup Qualifiers next month but the I League – the professional football league of India – and the Federation Cup are currently taking place simultaneously. They are not running any special camp for the national team.

The BFF, however, is yet to establish its authority over the clubs, who often keep the game's governing body on its toes and force it to change the decision. Besides, the BFF's latest decision to allow the players in the national camp only for their respective clubs on the match day is something totally unacceptable for any professional club, who spend a lot of money to achieve success.  

With the national team's training camp going on, the BFF wanted to start the Federation Cup from May 15 but had to shelf it due to the clubs' non-compliance.

Perhaps it is time the BFF stops trying to reinvent the wheel with their constant calendar tinkering, and follow a set calendar like their more successful fellow FIFA members. After all, that is the standard they are trying to emulate.

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