A four-member delegation from the Manchester United FC yesterday inspected Bangabandhu National Stadium and held talks with the sports minister and the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) president to study the feasibility of a proposed friendly match next year in Dhaka.
The Youth and Sports Ministry, with assistance from the BFF, is trying to hold a marquee friendly match involving popular clubs or country in Dhaka as part of birth centenary of the father of nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The team, comprising of Manchester United’s director of football, director of tours and friendlies and two other officials, arrived at the capital in the morning before having a meeting with State Minister for Youth and Sports Zahid Ahsan Russel and BFF president Kazi Salahuddin. Later they visited the BNS to watch the ground and other facilities, but refused to talk to the media. They are scheduled to inspect the practice ground of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Army Stadium as well as the Inter-Continental Hotel today before their departure.
India’s Celebrity Management Group (CMG), who brought Argentina and Nigeria for a friendly match in Dhaka in 2011, and local agent Antor Showbiz are working together to bring Manchester United to Bangladesh.
“We are trying to bring Manchester United in July next year. As part of this, the delegates have come here to inspect the venue, security, accommodation and other facilities. If we can meet all terms and conditions of the club, we will hold a match between Manchester United and Bangladesh Premier League’s best eleven either on July 23 or 30 to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” Antor Showbiz chairman Swapan Chowdhury told reporters at the BNS yesterday.
Chowdhury informed that they need 3m euros to bring the English giants which they will try to arrange from sponsors, government and through ticket-sale.
Former national footballer Gaffar Chowdhury, who accompanied the delegates, said, “It is a recce team, which is inspecting all things before submitting a budget for holding the match. Manchester United will tour Asia as part of pre-season preparation and are likely to play a match here if everything goes according to plan.”
“What I have understood is that their impression about the ground is not that good as they told us that there are five types of grass on the field and the ground is not even. We assured them that everything will be fine when the ground committee starts nursing the ground,” said Chowdhury.