BFF Elite Academy players up for auction
As the Bangladesh Premier League outfits do not have any permanent youth development programme yet, three top-tier clubs have kept their eyes on promising players of the BFF Elite Academy for the upcoming season.
With the players' transfer window for the top-tier already on since August 1, Mohammedan, Sheikh Russel and Brothers Union have recently officially asked for four, seven and 10 players respectively to Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), mentioning their offer prices. Interestingly, seven of those 15 players are common in three clubs' demand, forcing the BFF development committee to float an open bidding process for the players.
"Brothers, Mohammedan and Sheikh Russel have placed letters, asking permission to release 15 BFF Elite Academy players for their clubs. Seven of those players are have been sought by all three clubs," BFF's vice-president and chairman of development committee, Ataur Rahman Bhuiyan Manik, told the Daily Star after a meeting of the committee yesterday.
"If the committee distributes players as per their requirement, there will be questions raised, so we decided to put the players through an opening process. The club with the highest bid will get a player on loan for a season," Manik added.
It has been learnt that the clubs wanted to buy the players for an average of Tk 6.2 lakh, but the committee may fix a floor price for each player on the basis of the clubs' desired price. If all 15 players are sold for an average of Tk 6.5 lakh, BFF will earn approximately Tk one crore.
After BFF Elite Academy started operation in 2021, the players played in the second-tier Bangladesh Championship League as a team in the last two seasons and are set to play their third season in 2023-24. In the last season, Sheikh Russel wanted a few academy players to play for them but the game's local governing body did not release the players even though it released forward Mirajul Islam in the 2021-22 season for Mohammedan for Tk 10 lakh.
It has been learnt that the BFF gave away 30 percent the whole amount to Mirajul, however, this time BFF may give away 40 percent of the total release price to the players.
Asked whether the academy will struggle to form its squad for the BCL if they release 15 top players, Manik said, "We now have 63 players at academy and there is little difference in quality among the players since we regularly fire and hire players on the basis of their performance. We won't face any problem to form a good squad for BCL."
"We believe we can provide quality players from academy for the national team within four to five years, but we have to continue the activities of academy. Giving players to clubs on load will help us financially to continue our activities in coming days," opined Manik.