League committee ends investigation into match-fixing scandal
o Taka 20 lakh fine for Jamal
o Taka 5 lakh fine for Rahmatganj
o Two-year suspension for Rahmatganj goalkeeper Iran Sheikh
o Three-year suspension of Rahmatganj official Salahuddin Kala
o Two-month suspension for Muktijoddha coach Maruful Haque
The professional league committee of the Bangladesh Football Federation recommended a huge fine for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Rahmatganj MFS for playing a fixed match during the recently-concluded Bangladesh League.
The recommendations were made public by the league committee at a press conference on Saturday, raising more questions than giving any answer to the allegation that they still could not prove.
The recommendations include imposition of Tk 20 lakh fine on Jamal, Tk 5 lakh on Rahmatganj, two-year suspension of Rahmatganj goalkeeper Iran Sheikh, three-year suspension of Rahmatganj official Salahuddin Kala and two-month suspension of Muktijoddha coach Maruful Haque.
The committee did not recommend the deduction of any points of Jamal despite finding them guilty of match-fixing, which put their entire investigation under serious question.
Jamal came back from two goals down to beat Rahmatganj 5-2 in the second leg of the league to win three points that eventually helped them clinch the league title in their debut season.
‘The body language of the goalkeeper and the striker suggested there was something wrong in the game,’ league committee chairman Abdus Salam Murshedi told reporters at the press conference.
‘We came to know about the match-fixing scandal from the media and saw the video footage. It further intensified the doubts.
‘We talked to the players and officials and came to a conclusion that there was an understanding between two clubs,’ said Murshedi, evading the repeated questions if they have any concrete evidence over a fixed game.
Murshedi said Rahmatganj official Kala had clearly violated the rules as he used mobile phone at the ground during the match despite knowing it was illegal.
Murshedi had no answer when asked why his committee did not recommend punishishing the persons, presumably the Jamal officials with whom Kala had spoken about the outcome of the game.
Murshedi said they have recommended the suspension of goalkeeper of Iran Sheikh as his body language suggested he was aware of the understanding between the clubs.
If that is the case, a question has arisen why his committee should not recommend any punishment for Jamal strikers, who gave clear indication of match-fixing by not celebrating their goals.
The recommendation of two-month suspension for Muktijoddha coach Maruf was also not beyond any question. Maruf claimed to have strong evidence which could have proved the allegations beyond any doubt.
During half-time of the game, Maruf said he had received a phone call from Rahmatganj official Kala, who had mistakenly identified him as a Jamal official and informed him that ‘they have withdrawn their one overseas defender to facilitate them score as many goals as they wish’.
Murshedi said they also took notice of a Rahmatganj allegation that they had also received an offer of match-fixing from Maruf.
‘We came to know that Maruf had offered Rahamtganj Tk 3.5 lakh for buying sweets. We think his motive was not very good as no-one needs so much money just to have sweets,’ he said.
Asked why they did not check the mobile call record through intelligence officials, Murshedi said the BFF will do it if it is deemed necessary.
Asked when match-fixing is deemed a criminal offence in many other countries, why they did not take the help of police during their investigation, Murshedi again pushed the ball to the BFF court.
‘We have just put forward our recommendations. Now it is up to the BFF to take action,’ said Murshedi.
BFF president Kazi Salahuddin later told reporters that he had no idea about the league committee’s holding any press conference.
‘’I haven’t seen their recommendations and did not also have any idea that they were going to make it public through a press conference. So I can’t really make any comments,’ said Salahuddin.
‘The only thing I can say is that whatever action we take it has to be justified,’ added Salahuddin.
-With New Age input