U-18 tournament draw held
The youth teams of Mohammedan and Abahani were pitted in the same group for the Airtel U-18 Football Tournament, which is set to get underway from September 13 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The draw, which was held at the BFF house yesterday, pitted nine teams in two groups. However, the defending champions of Bangladesh Premier League, Sheikh Jamal DC, decided not to participate in the youth tournament for the second successive time.
“We had expected that all the established teams would be participating in the youth tournament as we extended the age-format from 16 to 18 in line with recommendation from Sheikh Jamal. However, they are not participating which is really unexpected,” said Bangladesh Professional Football League Committee's (BPFLC) vice chairman Abdur Rahim during the draw ceremony.
BFF general secretary Abu Nayeem said that after talking to Sheikh Jamal president Manzur Kader several times, it seemed to him that the club was unwilling to participate due to the small amount of participation money (3 lakhs) to be provided by BFF as the club don't want to subsidise the youth team like the senior one.
According to the bylaws, the clubs of the Premier League required to have a youth team and must participate in the tournament organised by the BFF but it doesn't state whether there will be any sanctions if a club opts out of the tournament. It is widely believed that Sheikh Jamal are taking advantage of the week bylaws.
“We have taken the matter seriously and we will recommend the BFF executive committee to take stern action against Sheikh Jamal after the meeting of the league committee,” said the BFF general secretary.
Top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals before the final, which is scheduled for September 30.
In the last edition, which was held among the U-16 teams, Mohammedan emerged champions by beating Muktijoddha Sangsad in the final.
GROUP A: Sheikh Russel KC, Team BJMC, Muktijoddha Sangsad KC and Chittagong Abahani.
GROUP B: Abahani, Mohammedan, Feni Soccer, Brothers Union and Uttar Baridhara.