The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) yesterday came up with two drastic measures regarding discipline and sanctity of football, as it suspended celebrated coach Maruful Hauqe from domestic football for one year for 'breach of code of conduct' and brandished punishment of varying measures on two championship league clubs for colluding to play a fixed match. The decision was made in a Professional Football League Committee (PLFC) meeting with Abdus Salam Murshedy in the chair.
Maruf has been suspended for making disparaging comments against the BFF, specifically demanding removal of the entire PLFC, alleging to favour another big club while he was in charge of Sheikh Russel KC in February this year.
"The comments he had made to the media against the BFF high-ups are in violation of the BFF code of conducts. Issues like these can only be addressed by the club president, not the coach. In light of violation of code of conduct, he has been suspended from all football activities for one year and fined Tk 30,000", said Murshedy after the meeting.
Maruf had criticised the PLFC for twice postponing a match against Sheikh Jamal DC. However, the then Sheikh Russel coach had apologised after being served a show-cause notice by BFF for his remarks.
However, the final decision and the severity of the punishment, which came more than five months after the incident, raised questions about the intention of the decision. Maruf, who is currently in UK completing coaching course UEFA A license part-II, could not be reached for a comment.
Meanwhile, this was not the only a surprising decision that emerged from yesterday's meeting. The PLFC also slapped Farashganj Sporting Club and Wari Club with point reduction, official and player suspension and monetary fine for playing a fixed match during the Bangladesh Championship League in the 2003-2014 season.
The decision, although praised in general, raised a few eyebrows as Wari Club found three of their officials and four of their players suspended for different terms, in addition to monetary fine (Tk 4 lacs) and point reduction (6 points); Farashganj got away with only monetary fine (Tk 5 lacs) and point reduction (nine points).
The decision came after the fixed-match identification committee had, on August 16, come to the conclusion that the match on May 21 this year, which Farashganj won 3-2, was a fixed one.
“No official or player of Farashganj SC admitted to playing a fixed match to the match-fixing identification committee. Hence we could not suspend any individual. But since it has appeared to us that they did play a fixed match, we punished the club,” said Murshedy explaining why no Farashganj official or player were suspended for the offence.