BNS to host cricket WC opener

February 25, 2009

BFF apprehensive
Staff Correspondent

An aerial view of the Bangabandhu National Stadium. — New Age photo

An aerial view of the Bangabandhu National Stadium. — New Age photo

The state minister for sports, Ahad Ali Sarker, declared on Tuesday that Bangabandhu National Stadium will host the inaugural ceremony of ICC World Cup the 2011 on February 19, sparking a strong repercussion within the Bangladesh Football Federation.
Ahad told reporters after a meeting with the prime minister that the government had decided to host the opening ceremony at the national stadium. But the football federation termed the announcement as totally one sided.
The federation president, Kazi Salahuddin, had no idea about what was going on. ‘I saw the news on TV. Nobody had talked to us and we know nothing about the decision. I can say that it was totally a one sided decision. At the moment I cannot say anything more than that.’
Federation officials alleged that a conspiracy was being hatched. They said a certain quarter had been active to bring cricket back into the stadium feeding improper information to the prime minister and the sports minister.
‘We believe that the prime minister and the sports minister is not getting authentic information. With cricket having its own venue complete with pitches, what is the reason behind hosting the opening ceremony in another venue?’ questioned an official.
The existing facilities of the national stadium need massive renovation to host an event like the opening ceremony of World Cup Cricket, said officials of the national cricket board at a recent press conference.
They said that the press box was not of international standard and did not have adequate space to house the press corps. The few entrances that there are, are shabby, the number of corporate boxes would have to be increased. The seating arrangement would have to be completely changed and each seat will have to be numbered.
Currently there are seats in only one part of the stadium. The number of seats would have to increase significantly. The fate of a newly installed athletic track, worth Tk 10 crore, also remains unclear.
Football federation officials, however, unanimously agreed that if hosting of the ceremony did not hamper football proceedings then it would not be a major problem.
‘For a big occasion like that, suspending football activities for a few days or even a month can certainly be done. But if the ceremony indicates that football activities will have to be stopped for a long time, say three or four months, then football will certainly suffer and it will not be acceptable,’ said the official.
He said that under the legendary Salauddin, the football federation has been working hard to revive the glory of the game in the country with various initiatives. ‘The federation is apparently apprehensive of losing expected sponsorship if they fail to continue the football calendar.’

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