Hefty transfers defy logic
Despite the fact that Bangladesh are languishing in the lowest echelon of FIFA rankings (193 out of 211 nations) and the top-tier domestic league, the Bangladesh Premier League, drawing next to no crowd to the stadia, there seems to be no shortage of money for the clubs when it comes to spending in the transfer market.
While in an ideal scenario one would expect a reduction in transfer market spending due to the unattractiveness of the league and lacklustre performances of the national team, the trend seems to be going the other way. In fact, the transfer market is becoming more and more volatile these days as players are bought for hefty prices by the big clubs.
According to a gross estimate based on insider information of the 12 clubs of the BPL, the spending in the recent transfer market, which closed on April 30, is around Tk 46 crore.
In addition to this amount, the clubs are expected to spend an additional Tk 20 crore to cater to expenditures of coaching staff, food, transportation, accommodation, bonuses, sports gear and other things. Interestingly, these expenditures are not offset by cash revenues, rather these amounts are met through donations, as has been the tradition.
“The total expenditure of the clubs depends on how long the season prolongs and how long you pay the foreign players and run training camps,” Sheikh Jamal DC manager Anwarul Karim Helal explained.
According to club officials, defending champions Abahani and last season's runners-up Chittagong Abahani were the biggest spenders in the transfer market, with both clubs having spent around Tk 8 crore each while Sheikh Jamal have reportedly spent Tk 6 crore, followed by Tk 5 crore spent by Sheikh Russel KC and Mohammedan SC each. Newcomers Saif Sporting Club have spent Tk 4 crore.
“Though we did not sign up any star player, we roped in footballers who played 90 minutes regularly for different clubs last season. So we had to pay them good amount to ensure their services. The players' payment may stand at Tk 8 crore apart from other expenditures,” informed Chittagong Abahani's newly appointed manager Arman Aziz.
“We are spending three times what we spent last season. We have to pay Tk 3 crore to only 12 players while there are payments to other local players and foreign players. I think the total players' payment will be around Tk 5 crore,” claimed Mohammedan SC manager Amirul Islam Babu, whose side finished 10th last season.
Another interesting finding is that there is a big disparity in spending among the clubs that spend big and those that have less in their purse. The six less solvent clubs -- Team BJMC (Tk 2 crore), Muktijoddha Sangsad (Tk 1.8 crore), Farashganj SC (Tk 1.5 crore), Arambagh KS (1.5 crore), Brothers Union (Tk 1.4 crore) and Rahmatganj MFS (Tk 1.3 crore) – have collectively spent only Tk 9.5 crore, which is just one-and-a-half crore more than what Abahani have spent.
“As we don't have enough donors or sponsors, we spend less money. This time we have estimated a total budget of Tk 2 crore in which the players' payment is nearly Tk 1.3 crore and the rest will be spent to run the camp,” said Imteaz Hamid Sabuj, general secretary of Rahmatganj MFS, who finished seventh last season.