The Bangladesh Football Federation on Saturday drew heavy criticism for summoning six footballers of Chattogram Abahani and Saif Sporting Club for a match-fixing probe, which was branded by the involving clubs as ‘dirty politics.’
The BFF launched the match-fixing probe against Chattogram Abahani and Saif Sporting for their goalless draw in a Bangladesh Premier League match at Mymensingh on February 23.
The two clubs are incidentally financed and run by Tarafdar Ruhul Amin, a critic of BFF president Kazi Salahuddin who announced his run for the top post in next election, scheduled in April 2020.
The fixed-match detection committee of the BFF, headed by Humayun Khalid, asked six players – three from each Chattogram Abahani and Saif Sporting – to attend before the probe body on Sunday.
Saif Sporting captain Jamal Bhuyan, defender Yasin Arafat and forward Jafar Iqbal and Chattogram Abahani’s Monaem Khan Raju, Abdul Malek and Nigerian forward Awala Magalan have been summoned before the committee.
Chattogram Abahani football committee secretary Shakil Mahmud termed the move as ‘dirty politics,’ saying that the probe was launched to teach Tarafder, Salahuddin’s rival in BFF election.
‘They are trying to corner us in different ways as Tarafder Ruhul Amin has already announced his candidature. The BFF took these steps and doing all these by the direction of Kazi Salahuddin,’ he said.
Among the six players summoned, Chattogram Abahani forward Abdul Malek did not travel to Mymensingh, let alone play the game.
‘How they could suspect a player, who even did not play that match. It proved that they did it intentionally,’ said Shakil.
‘We know Salahuddin group will take more steps against these two clubs. Their motto is to humiliate us. They think we will not compete in the election if they continue such things,’ he added.
National team captain Jamal Bhuyan termed the BFF’s inquiry as ‘fantasy or joke’.
‘Why will I do this? Really it’s a joke. What is my benefit doing this? We want to become champions…It’s humiliating for me,’ he said.
‘How they call Abdul Malek who was in Dhaka. It’s just their politics. I didn’t know it before yesterday [Friday]. They told me about match-fixing query and to come to the meeting.’
Fixed-match detection committee chief Humayun said this is just an investigation and no one should jump on any conclusion at this stage.
‘We have video footage. We need to be clear before taking any decision. It will not be wise to tell anything about punishment before interrogating them.’
He claimed that the committee needed to talk with Abdul Malek to get an impartial view on the match.
Among the six suspected players, Yasin Arafat and forward Jafar Iqbal of Saif Sporting are now in Bahrain to play in the AFC Under-23 Championship 2020 qualifiers.
Malek, who was in Dhaka during the match, said he was shocked by the summoning.
‘I don’t understand anything. They [BFF] asked me to come to the federation but I don’t know why,’ he said.
The match-fixing probe was launched at a time when the BFF was shaken by the arrest of its executive member Mahfuza Akhter and her subsequent release on bail in a case filed for allegedly defaming prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Some 200 fans, loyal to Arambagh Krira Sangha president Mominul Haque Saeed, a Tarafder-ally, demonstrated protest against Salahuddin-ally Mahfuza on Thursday demanding her ousting from BFF.
Source: New Age.