Big clubs in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) may not have much trouble clearing payments to foreign players as per their contracts, but smaller clubs appear to be in trouble relating to those payments after the professional football league was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday.
Most of the small clubs are hoping to reach a mutual understanding regarding the contracts with the foreign players, who have been stuck in Bangladesh after the government suspended flights to all but four countries to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"We are in deep trouble in the case of the foreign players, who are concerned with the situation because they are away from their family and also need money. The foreign players are eagerly waiting to return home but all international flights except a few have been suspended," Rahmatganj general secretary Imtiaz Hamid Sabuj told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday.
"We can't talk to them until international flights resume. If the league is not played, then it is not possible to bear all their salaries. There is a clause in the agreements that we can talk to them about a mutual understanding and we will do that," Sabuj said, adding that they pay at least US$ 15,000 to five foreign players per month but it was impossible to get donors in such a situation.
Brothers Union manager Amer Khan said that they had been running around with their foreign players after the league was postponed indefinitely.
"Their family members are scared by the situation in Bangladesh. Everyone wants to stay with their family during such bad situations. But their families are alright," Amer said, adding that they had been trying to reach an amicable settlement with the players by clearing this month's salary.
"The players and our German coach Reza Parkas have also been in touch with their respective embassies in Dhaka to see if there is any scope to return home," said the former national footballer.
Uttar Baridhara Club general secretary Jahangir Alam said: "Of five foreign players, we cleared two players' salary up to April 15 and cleared this month's salary to three others before their departure.
"According to our agreement, the club will clear the payments of the running month if any player is terminated or departs from the country. The choice is open for players, who can come back to play for Uttar Baridhara if the league resume in the near future. Or if they want a clearance certificate from us, we are ready to give it to them," Jahangir said.
He added that they would continue to provide accommodation and food to the foreign players until international flights resume.
Saif SC managing director Nasiruddin Ahmed Chowdhury said they were not thinking about any payments because they were more concerned with the players' safe departure from Bangladesh.
"We don't want to talk to them regarding contracts or salaries because we started the season with a budget. However, we are thinking about their return to their countries because they are eager to meet their family," Chowdhury said.
He believes foreign players wouldn't face such if the league committee decided to postpone the league on March 17 because all the foreigners had bought tickets home anyway as there was to be a break in the league due to World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers.
Chowdhury also informed that Bangladesh captain Jamal Bhuiyan left the country on Tuesday for Denmark but three foreign players and one foreign coach remained in the country.
Abahani manager Satyajit Das Rupu said they would sit with foreign players and coaches to discuss the matter while Arambagh general secretary Yaqub Ali urged the BFF to pay them the participation money so that they could clear payment to foreign players and release them immediately.