Five alleged footballers are likely to get off the hook as Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani failed to provide enough documents to be incriminate those five national booters.
The Dhanmondi-based outfit suspended defenders Ariful Islam, Tapu Barman and Shakil Ahmed, midfielder Hemanta Vincent Biswas and winger Sohel Rana for one year in March on disciplinary grounds after those players did not turn up for the club's AFC Cup training camp following February's Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup.
Abahani management then requested the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) to uphold their decision to ban those players from all competitions organised by the game's governing body for one year.
The BFF Players' Status Committee sat twice and summoned the club officials and the alleged players to learn of their versions of the events. The three-member committee is likely to deliver its verdict tomorrow at its last meeting regarding the issue.
“We haven't reached a conclusion yet and we need to sit again,” Players' Status Committee member Abdur Rahim told The Daily Star a few days back. “We are following the procedure to reach a conclusion after reviewing international and domestic laws. We also considered the fact that those five players are part of the national football team, so we cannot take any decision hurriedly.”
A source within the BFF informed that Abahani could not provide proper documents to suspend those players as they only provided last season's incomplete agreement papers where the time-frame of the contracts was not mentioned. The papers only said 'at the end of the season' as per the validity of the contracts.
No mention of a specific time-frame on contract papers is a big loophole for Abahani and hence those five players are not taking part for the Sky Blues in the ongoing AFC Cup, a tournament where Abahani suffered three straight defeats.
It has been learnt that the Players' Status Committee took help of FIFA laws to determine the timeline of the season, which starts with the first official match of the league and closes with the last official match of the league.
This means those five players became free agents at the completion of the Bangladesh Premier League on January 7 and they were not bound to join Abahani for the AFC Cup training camp.
Though a final decision is yet to be made, the players will face no problems to join their desired destination -- Saif Sporting Club -- in the players' transfer window which is currently open and will close on April 30.