The Match-fixing Identification Committee of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday called three players each from Saif Sporting Club and Chittagong Abahani for their 'suspicious behaviour' during their Bangladesh Premier League fixture on February 23.
The match, played at Saif SC's homeground of Shaheed Rafeeq Uddin Stadium in Mymensingh, had ended in a goalless draw.
“The four-member Match-fixing Identification Committee, headed by ex-secretary Humayun Khalid, had sat for a meeting today. The committee members analysed video footage of that match and seem to have found suspicious behaviour from a number of players of both sides,” BFF competitions manager Zaber Bin Ansari told The Daily Star yesterday.
The BFF official also informed that the three players of each club, whom he did not name due to the investigation, have been summoned to meet the committee on Sunday.
It is understood that the committee, after taking interviews of the players, will prepare a report for the BFF executive committee to decide the fate of the match and the two clubs, if any wrongdoing is found.
Saif SC are currently in fourth position with 17 points from nine matches while Chittagong Abahani are in eighth position with 11 points from same number of matches.
Although the top-tier professional football league as well as the lower leagues had been dogged by allegations of match-fixing in the past, with clubs like Sheikh Jamal, Rahmatganj, among others, being fined and penalised, the scourge of match-fixing had seemingly ebbed, at least in top-tier football, in recent years.
Hence the sudden disclosure of the match-fixing issue, that too almost a month after the game took place, comes as a bit of a surprise to the football fraternity.
It may be mentioned here the chairman of Saif Sporting Club, Tarafder Ruhul Amin, is also the vice-president of Chittagong Abahani. The industrialist-turned-sports-administrator is expected to run for the president post in BFF polls scheduled for April next year against the incumbent Kazi Salahuddin.