With the country under a lockdown till April 28, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) has sought opinion from the youth and sports ministry about resumption of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in the latter part of this month.
The second-phase of the top-tier professional league was supposed to get underway from April 9 but the ongoing lockdown forced the game's local governing body to defer the resumption. And as there is uncertainty whether the current lockdown will be extended, the BFF does not want to waste any more time taking into consideration the plight of the 13 participating clubs.
"We have sent a letter to our parent ministry to get their opinion as football is being played all over the world. Football is being played in India and IPL is also being played in India. From this point of view, our clubs want to play. We sought opinion from the ministry regarding what should we do in this situation as the clubs are pressing us to resume the league," BFF's senior vice-president and professional league committee chairman Abdus Salam Murshedy told The Daily Star yesterday.
It has been learnt that the BFF wants to restart the league on April 29, the day following the completion of the current phase of lockdown. They are planning to complete three to four rounds of matches before going into break for Eid-ul-Azha and AFC Cup engagements of Bashundhara Kings and Abahani.
There was a discussion whether Abahani could play their AFC Cup play-off match against Eagles Club of Maldives on April 25 in India, but the Sky Blues do not see any possibility of that happening due to international flight restriction and crisis over obtaining Indian visas.
AFC is likely to hold two play-off matches among Abahani, Eagles and Bengaluru FC just before the start of the Group E matches in Maldives (May 14-20), and in that case the BFF will get all clubs together to start the league.
Though a few clubs want to restart the league after World Cup Qualifiers in June, Murshedy believes it would be tough for the clubs to bear the expense of the foreign players.
"If we want to resume the league after the World Cup Qualifiers, the expenses for the clubs will increase. So we want to complete at least three or four rounds of matches of the league before the start of AFC Cup and World Cup Qualifiers," Murshedy said, adding that they want to hold the league without spectators and maintaining health guidelines.
The game's local governing body has started vaccinating footballers of top two leagues, with some 180 BPL players and 141 BCL players already getting the first shots of Covishield.