After a three-and-a-half-year gap, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) is all set to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) in Gazipur today amid fear of heated discussions over alleged financial irregularities of the past three years.
BFF president Kazi Salahuddin had promised to hold the AGM every year after being elected for a third term in 2016, but he failed to hold a single AGM since the one held on the last BFF election day on April 30, 2016. The BFF Boss may be held accountable by the delegates at the AGM as the next BFF election is knocking on the door.
BFF vice-presidents Mohiuddin Ahmed and Badal Roy made the situation more complex after bringing allegation of financial irregularities in September, but those allegations were allegedly overlooked by the BFF, with the pretence of FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s visit to the country last month.
The game’s local governing body, according to audit reports from 2016 to 2018, spent Tk 87.18 crore against revenue of Tk 83.12 crore with an average annual expenditure of Tk 29.06 crore.
FIFA, AFC and sponsors provided the football authority with majority of the revenue, worth Tk 57.50 crore, while the rest of the money came through ticket sale, fees from players’ and clubs’ registration, lottery, South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) fund and other sources.
Of the total expenditure, the BFF spent more than 38 percent [Tk 33.39 crore] as part of its administrative costs including staff salary [Tk 9.36 crore], technical director’s salary [Tk 3.10 crore], fuel, utility, maintenance, stationary, printing, courier, entertainment, gifts, sports goods, FIFA/AFC meeting conveyance, air tickets and other account heads over the three years. The large amount raised the question whether BFF was using too much money on non-development sectors as the lower division leagues and district football leagues remained somewhat neglected.
The game’s local governing body provided only Tk 1.17 crore to hold district football leagues even though it was allocated Tk 1.44 crore for this purpose by the government.
Salahuddin has kept rolling top-flight leagues such as Bangladesh Premier League, Bangladesh Championship League, but the lower leagues are still irregular as First and Second Division League were held twice in three years while Third Division and Pioneer League were held once in three years.
The BFF also kept sending age-group teams to international tournaments alongside regular assignments of the senior team, but it was reluctant to provide support to hold district leagues and country-wide national tournaments.
“The finance committee explained the queries of the two vice-presidents and the financial governance unit of FIFA and AFC also went through the audit reports, which was approved by BFF executive committee. Besides, no delegates gave any observation on the audit reports, so I think everything is right and it would be approved by AGM,” BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag said.
One of the delegates, seeking anonymity, said that many delegates may enter the AGM venue with black cloths over their mouth as the BFF is trying to shut their voice from raising issues that the BFF president promised but failed to deliver on.