The annual general meeting is a forum where delegates capitalise on the opportunity to reflect on the obstacles and achievements of the past year, and to voice their opinions on decisions that will affect the direction of the sport.
But yesterday, on the day of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) elections, the BFF's AGM at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel was marked by a distinct lack of voices questioning or opposing the decisions of the past year.
The scenes were in stark contrast to the chaotic ones during the 2016 elections as a calm and quite environment prevailed in the 2020 AGM yesterday. This time around the elective congress saw a peaceful end, with only a couple of councillors asking the incumbent committee why the federation did not come forward to help destitute footballers and stakeholders during the pandemic.
Another requested the AGM to provide voting rights to all clubs involved in the lower division leagues. Although there have been a lot of questions and criticism from different quarters over the declining state of the country's football, the forum apparently was not interested to shine a spotlight on this crucial issue.
"I never saw such a peaceful AGM before. We have done good work in the past and everyone supported us and 98 percent of delegates were cheerful," said incumbent executive committee member Harunur Rashid.
Bashundhara Kings president and vice-president candidate Imrul Hasan said, "I have participated in two BFF AGMs, including this one, and it was a disciplined meeting compared to the last one. The delegates were excited and in a festive mood and the AGM ended and in a peaceful way."
"The AGM passed everything the incumbent committee presented before us because the election is on everyone's mind. There were a lot of things to ask about but no one raised questions, worrying about how voters would take it ahead of the polls. That's why everyone was silent at the AGM," said Mymensingh Divisional FA president and vice-president candidate Abdullah Fuad Redwan.
"The annual general meeting was held in a quiet and calm environment unlike the previous ones which was always held in a chaotic way. This time around, all decided not to raise voices because we have to meet each other at the end of the day," said Nilphamari FA president, former national captain and incumbent executive member Arif Hossain Moon, who is now competing against Salahuddin's panel.
However, former national footballer Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury was not happy about how the AGM was conducted. "BFF can't build a gymnasium in 12 years citing financial constraints but they are well capable of holding the AGM lavishly and keeping all delegates in such an expensive hotel. It is not possible to develop football with such mentality," said Gaffar.
There were whispers in the hotel regarding one panel's disbursement of money to buy some delegates to ensure their triumph, but Brothers Union manager and member candidate Amer Khan said he had no idea about it.
"I have no idea about it or I haven't heard such a thing," said Amer. "If they come into football spending money, let them come into football. I want to welcome them and hope they will continue spending money for the development of football."
In the end, many felt that this kind of silence was not good for any organisation. "You know, nobody wanted to be singled out by raising their voice, so you have to understand the reality," said a delegate who preferred not to be named.