Controversially 2012

December 31, 2012

In 2012 Bangladesh have made some strides in the sports sphere — the playing of FIFA international friendlies and the general elevation of the cricket team’s standard in ODI cricket come to mind. But if there is one thing that can be expected from organised sports in Bangladesh, it is that there will be controversies, and 2012 supplied a steady stream of the same. Here’s a look back at some of the off-field scandals:
HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN
Well, it was not a warm gun thankfully, but Arif Khan Joy did take a firearm out onto the football field during the Federation Cup quarterfinal between Mohammedan and Team BJMC on October 16. Carrying a firearm into a sporting scene was not his only offence however. Executive members of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) are not allowed to be with their teams during match hours, and that is the first rule Joy, BFF vice-president and director of BJMC, broke when he went out onto the field of play during the half-time break to remonstrate with the referees with his licensed gun clearly visible holstered in his trousers.
Funnily enough, the provision for firearms is so unprecedented that the BFF tournament rules make no mention of it. A FIFA clause however states that firearms can be brought into football grounds in exceptional circumstances and only by security personnel. The circumstance was neither exceptional nor was Joy a security personnel, and he was duly handed a one-year suspended ban and a 50,000-taka fine.
IT WASN’T BROKE, BUT THEY ‘FIXED’ IT
Regrettably, the spectre of match- and spot-fixing raised its ugly head all too often in the year, in both the favourite sports of cricket and football.
The inaugural edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 had a shadow cast over it when police arrested a suspected bookie, Pakistani national Sajid Khan, during a match on February 26. Sajid had the bank details of Chittagong Kings’ Pakistani recruit Nasir Jamshed and Dhaka Gladiators’ Pakistan player Rana Naved in his mobile phone inbox.
Then Bangladesh’s cricketing establishment was thrown into disarray in October when Bangladesh’s international panel umpire Nadir Shah was implicated in a sting operation by Indian television channel India TV in a spot-fixing scandal that also involved six other umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In the footage aired on October 8, Nadir was shown to have been willing to give doctored decisions in lieu of money. The umpire maintains his innocence.
Football in 2012 was rife with allegations of match-fixing. There were two separate incidents, one of which got clean chit — the Bangladesh Premier League match between Brothers Union and Rahmatganj in April — following an investigation, and the other — Brothers Union v Sheikh Jamal DC in June — has seemingly been swept under the carpet as the investigation has been carried over into a new season. There was a third allegation made by Brothers Union manager Amer Khan on Ekattor TV that his side had deliberately lost a match against Abahani on May 26. The next day he denied making the comments, and was subsequently suspended for a month for his trouble.
LITTLE LESS ADMINISTRATION
As far as administration goes, the Bangladesh Cricket Board outdid itself in the controversy stakes. First there was the confusion over the BPL semifinalists with the governing council subjecting Barisal Burners and Chittagong Kings to an embarrassing game of musical chairs. More embarrassing was the non-payment of the BPL players, both international and local, and the matter came to a head when the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association threatened legal action against the BPL in May. Last but not least was head coach Richard Pybus’s appointment and subsequent departure — the initially reticent Englishman was brought into the job with the promise of vacations between tours, and eventually left after five months because in his words the contract, which he did not sign, did not reflect that agreement.
HONOURABLE MENTION
Controversy is not the sole preserve of Bangladesh’s two big sports. In the National Athletics Championships in February, runner Amir Ali celebrated a win in the 5,000-metre race but was told that he had not won as he had run a lap less. Overcoming the emotional turmoil, he ran the 10,000 metres the next day to prove a point and won the gold by a distance. It was later revealed that the ruling was wrong and Amir was given his rightful reward.

-With The Daily Star input

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