The professional football league committee of Bangladesh Football Federation yesterday fixed May 15 as a tentative date to start the Federation Cup, with participation of 12 teams of the Bangladesh Premier League.
The Federation Cup was supposed to start in the middle of the premier league, but the game's governing body wants to bring it forward in a bid to give room to the national team for the Asian Cup Qualifier play-offs to be held on June 2 and 7. The national team's camp will begin from tomorrow under the supervision of Saiful Bari Titu while the arrival date of re-appointed coach Lodewijk de Kruif is yet to be finalised.
“We wanted to start the league after the completion of the Asian Cup play-offs, but the clubs did not want to keep their players idle for that time and they wanted to play a tournament. That's why we have decided to start the Federation Cup from a tentative date of May 15. We will finalise the participating teams after being ensured by them as we will invite 12 teams of the premier league tomorrow [Tuesday],” said BFF senior vice president Abdus Salam Murshedy after the meeting where representatives of Sheikh Jamal DC, Mohammedan SC and Abahani were not present.
Replying to a query, Murshedy said: “The clubs have agreed to release their players for the national camp and the players, who will be called for the national team, will join their respective clubs just a day before their match of the Federation Cup and return to the national team after playing the match.”
Murshedy also hinted that the clubs might get their national players only up to the quarterfinals, which are supposed to be held on May 25 and 26, because after that the national team will travel to Tajikistan for the first play-off match.
The committee is also considering increasing the number of venues for the 9th Bangladesh Premier League to at least five. The probable venues are Rajshahi, Mymensingh/Jamalpur, Sylhet and Chittagong apart from Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka. The committee wants to start the league by 10 June and it is mulling to provide accommodation and transport to clubs for trips outside the capital, Murshedy said.