State minister for youth and sports informs representatives of different federations during a meeting
Ministry of Youth and Sports on Monday have recommended postponing all kinds of sports activity in Bangladesh due to the coronavirus threats until 31st match, said the state minister Zahid Ahsan Russell.
The announcement came up during a meeting with the federation representatives as they met about the programmes regarding the birth centennial of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Monday.
The length of the postponement may increase, the Minister also hinted and urged not to hold any international event until June as part of precautionary steps to tackle growing coronavirus outbreak.
“The school, colleges are shut down as number of coronavirus affected people is increasing. Prime Minister [Sheikh Hasina] instructed to postpone all sports events after one of the ministers raised the issue during a cabinet meeting.” said Russel.
In the presence of Md Akhtar Hossain, the secretary of the respective ministry, Russell conveyed the message to the federation representatives.
“Postpone all domestic events until March 31. We will observe the situation, if it gets better the activities will resume, if not, it may be expanded up to May or even June. It is also recommended to postpone all international events until June.” the minister added.
The sports federations hold the Independence Day tournament every year during the month of March and April but for the time being, all of them are also postponed in this year.
Mujib Year events rescheduled
The government has planned to hold around 100 sports tournament to mark the celebration of 100th birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The first international event to get postponed during the countdown of Mujib Year was Bangabandhu International Freestyle Stunt Cycling Competition’2020, which was scheduled to be held from February 27 to 29 in Dhaka with the participation of 25 countries including a number of teams who withdrew due to travel restrictions.
The latest one was the 9th Bangladesh Games, named after the Bangabandhu, previously scheduled to be held on April 1-10 as the country’s biggest sports extravaganza expected to feature around 10,000 athletes in 31 sports.
Russell said, “We planned to hold 100 sports events including more than 44 international events to celebrate Bangabandhu’s Birth Centenary. We already postponed some national events and also rescheduled some of the other events due to coronavirus.”
Football gets the hardest hit
Like the football world across the world, from the top European leagues to World Cup qualifiers, Bangladesh football also receives the hit and the latest announcement mean the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League and Women’s Football League are postponed until the end of the month.
The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), in a hurried response to the government announcement, postponed the top-flight league until further notice.
The national football team was earlier scheduled to host Afghanistan in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualification in Sylhet on March 26 and play away against Qatar on March 31. Both the games were earlier postponed by the Asian football governing body, AFC.
There were no premier league fixtures from March 16 to April 5 due to the World Cup qualifiers. The BFF was working on to reschedule the fixtures to resume it likely from March 19 as an emergency meeting of the professional league committee is called today to decide the further steps.
The final round of the BFF National School Football Championship 2019-20, scheduled to kick off from Tuesday, is also postponed, confirmed a press release on Monday.