A number of issues were raised and a few solutions suggested regarding the increase in alleged biased umpiring instances in Bangladesh's first, second and third division cricket leagues during a seminar titled 'Biased Umpiring in Dhaka Cricket: Its Reality and Solution', organised by the Bangladesh Sports Journalist Association (BSJA) at the Bangladesh Olympic Association auditorium in the capital yesterday.
While there have been allegations of biased umpiring and favouritism in the past, such instances have increased recently with plenty of shameful umpiring events coming to the fore, especially in lower-tier divisions.
A number of speakers attempted to present solutions to the alleged bias that could destroy the cricket culture. The BSJA pointed out that the politics with the councillorship was behind the crisis.
Syed Ali Asaf, who was associated with Young Pegasus Club mentioned that he would be severing ties with the club after 28 years because he could no longer be complicit in the mentality that the club possesses.
"The 'win-at-all-costs' mentality needs to be changed. Previously, the strengths and weaknesses were the topics to discuss before playing any team but now the most discussed thing ahead of any game is 'who is the umpire?'," Asaf lamented.
Unlike Asaf, Riaz Ahmed Babu -- the secretary of Kalabagan KC -- was more timid but he did point out some major problems.
Babu mentioned that players' complaints regarding alleged biased umpiring do not reach higher authorities -- directing the statement towards chairman of the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) Kazi Inam Ahmed -- who was present. Babu also questioned the fairness of the umpires' committee which has had Soilab Hossain Tutul serving as member secretary 'for decades'.
Interestingly, Tutul was also one of the invited guests but did not show up. Another invited guest who missed the event was chairman of the umpires' committee -- Shafiul Islam Shopon.
Former national captain Gazi Ashraf Hossain added that such instances were thought of as human error before but are now intentional.
However, it was mentioned by Sayeeduzzaman, the senior sports reporter of Kaler Kantho, that umpires were not the only 'malicious elements in cricket'. He said that umpires also took directives from the directors of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
The issue of umpire allotment was also discussed during the seminar, with the main problem being the same umpires continuing to be employed even after allegations were made against them. Most of these questions were directed towards CCDM chairman Inam, but he retorted that the CCDM is not responsible for umpire allotment.