Vol. 5 Num 500 Fri. October 21, 2005  

Salahuddin quits BFF
More resignations follow

The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) on Thursday suffered a body blow when Kazi Salahuddin tendered his resignation as vice-president and chairman of the National Team Management Committee (NTMC) following the appointment of a controversial Amirul Islam Babu as manager of the Under-20 team.

The former national captain and arguably the best footballer the country has ever produced handed over his resignation letter to BFF general secretary Anwarul Hoque Helal, a day after BFF president SA Sultan rewarded a trigger-happy Babu the managerial post for the Asian Youth Championship overturning NTMC's recommendation.

Salahuddin's decision to step aside has gained solidarity from his fellow NTMC members with Imtiaz Sultan Johnny and Golam Rabbani Helal also tendering their resignations. Another NTMC member and former national striker Salam Murshedi told over phone that he would be quitting too.

"I have said what I have to say in my statement. I will make no more comments on this issue now," said Salahuddin referring to his emotional press statement.

The action of Salahuddin was a kick in the teeth for BFF supremo Sultan, whose whimsical decision to appoint Babu was the reason for the spate of resignations.

Sultan, who has been in the thick of controversy ever since he took over the BFF, only fanned the flames by saying that Babu's show of physical as well as verbal strength during the BFF meeting on Tuesday was 'it was nothing new and was a part of democratic practice'.

His irrational remark after what the arrogant Mohammedan football secretary did in the BFF executive committee meeting embarrassed many of the country's leading football players and organisers.

"The BFF rewarded someone for attacking the country's best footballer. Any person having minimum sense of dignity would have done what Salahuddin did," said a former national footballer after hearing the news.

"They (NTMC) were trying to do something for the good of football in Bangladesh but the BFF, having given them some responsibility, has dishonoured their recommendation which is shameful to say the least," exclaimed former footballer.

Meanwhile, the BFF president in an apparent attempt to save his blushes started a dialogue with an aggrieved Salahuddin. He engaged with Salahuddin in a close-door meeting at the BFF Bhaban.

Taking a break from the meeting, SA Sultan told reporters that they have requested Salahuddin to take some time and reconsider his decision.

"We have discussed the resignation of our honourable vice-president and the chairman of the NTMC. He has the right to do anything but we think we should reach a decision that will serve football in the end," told Sultan.

When asked whether the resignation was accepted, the BFF chief opined that he alone was not responsible to do that.

"It has to go through a process."

When asked whether it has anything to do with Amirul Islam Babu's recent actions, he said that 'it could be many things'.

"It's an organisation where we respect every one. Salahuddin is a jewel in our crown but may be he has taken this decision after being hurt for any reason. We would request him on behalf of the nation to stay with us for the greater interest of football.


"I was authorised by the executive committee to select the officials after it failed to do so. Now if it needs any rational changes, we can think about it. All decisions in an organisation like this is open all the time," Sultan added.

Salahuddin's Statement
Following is the full text of Kazi Salahuddin’s letter who resigned yesterday from the Bangladesh Football Federation:
All my life I had loved the game of football. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to play football at the highest level in our country for the finest clubs and representing the nation as a player, captain and coach.

I experienced the kind of love and support that one can only imagine in their dreams for which I will be grateful eternally. After years of my retirement from the sport it was with high expectation when I opted to run for the position of vice-president of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) in 2003 and found with heartfelt surprise that people have not forgotten me, instead elected me yet for this responsibility totally un-contested and unchallenged.

Subsequently, the BFF offered me the post of chairman of National Team Management Committee (NTMC), which I accepted gladly as part of this new challenge.

With whatever experience and education I gained over the years as a player and coach and an avid lover of the sport, I did my very best to help accommodate a world-class coach and trainer for our promising young players and initiated a start-up programme with aspiration of bringing soccer back in the limelight just like we enjoyed during our glory days of football in the 70s and 80s.

Even though my decisions were entirely within the guidelines and rules of FIFA and as well as the constitution of BFF, I found myself at odds with the higher authority at BFF that chose to reject my decisions replacing them with their own set of plans.

It is unfortunate that the decision came at a crucial time when I had just implemented the programme and I was about to steer the team to the direction that I always wanted and dreamt of Bangladesh football to reach someday.

Now I find myself in an awkward situation only to realise that by accepting the rejection and still remaining in the committee will only continue to reflect my inability to conduct my job for what I was elected for.

Therefore, to avoid conflict and in the better interest of football in Bangladesh, I feel obliged to step aside and make room for someone more qualified to take over this position. Despite failing to satisfy the authority with my service I still wish to thank the BFF for the opportunity I was allowed.

Kazi Salahuddin (R) hands over his resignation letter to BFF general secretary Anwarul Hoque Helal on Thursday. PHOTO: STAR