Franchise hockey offers hope | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 20, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:36 AM, February 20, 2021

Franchise hockey offers hope

With Premier Division Hockey League in the shelf for the last three years, the proposed franchise hockey league is giving hope to hockey players as a source of earning while raising hope of a revival of the game, once considered most promising after football. 

Despite repeated appeals from the hockey players for holding the premier league, Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BFF) has apparently been helpless due to the lack of unwillingness of some clubs to take part over financial constraints.

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"Every club official wants the league to get underway but surprisingly they can't take a decision when they sit for a meeting. And so we are starving year after year," national team's midfielder Mohammad Nayeem Uddin told The Daily Star.

"Introducing the franchise league is like a bumper harvest for the players, who always want regular harvest. We want hockey to be back on the pitch and want every player to earn a living.  Majority of the players don't have jobs except for some who have jobs in services teams," Nayeem added.

The introduction of the franchise league will definitely give the players an opportunity to earn money while the budding players will have encouragement to continue playing the game.

However, introduction of the league will depend on how the BHF responds to the proposal placed by T Sports, who are already involved with cricket and football in a big way.

"It is a big challenge to convince corporate houses because we have to make a sustainable model for the league. We believe we can manage four to five houses for the first year but they may not remain with us if we don't ensure a sustainable league," Ishtiaque Sadeque, CEO and managing director of T Sports, told The Daily Star.

Another T Sports official informed that they are planning to use the same model used in BPL T20 to rope in six corporate houses for six divisions, who will play in double-legged league matches before top four teams will take part in play-offs for the final clash in May.

Each team will have an icon player, who will get maximum payment, followed by players of A, B, C category alongside a player under foreign players' quota.

"T Sports will invest more in marketing to create a hype in hockey. The players may not get big payments like BPL cricketers do, but they will get good payment from the second edition. We want to make hockey a brand," said the official, adding that they will also provide a certain amount of revenue to the BHF.

BHF's acting general secretary Mohammad Yousuf said they are taking the T Sports proposal positively as an additional event in their calendar and that they have already formed a committee to meet with the company and finalise everything within a short period of time.

"I don't know how much franchise hockey league will contribute to hockey, but I can say people will feel interested again about hockey if we can introduce the league the way we want to," said Ishtiaque.

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