A win for football; a win for truth, says the BFF boss
Kazi Salahuddin was re-elected for the third consecutive term as the president of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) on Saturday, putting behind all talks of pressure and rumours which surrounded the polls over the last few days.
The former national skipper won a comprehensive victory by bagging 83 votes while his competitor Kamrul Ashraf Khan Poton received 50 votes. One vote was cancelled.
Salahuddin, who has been in the hot-seat of Bangladesh football’s governing body for the last eight years, termed the victory as a win for football and truth.
“It is a win for football; it is a win for truth. There will always be criticism if you work, and there will be no criticism if you don’t work,” Salahuddin said in his instant reaction, adding that he would elaborately speak about his plans for the next four years a couple of days later.
“From my heart, I want to thank every delegate, councillor and voter who gave the right decision for the love of football. After a lot of drama and things surrounding the election, they proved that football is above all. I will try to repay the trust the delegates have put on me. It gives me more responsibility to complete my remaining task,” Salahuddin said.
“I felt mental torment till 3:00pm as all pressure was on me. Anyone else might have given up in a situation like this. But I was player who played full 90 minutes and I am the person who went to the Independence War by walking from Dhanmondi and crossing the river at the age of 17. I never gave up,” Salahuddin later said, alluding to the whispers of pressure tactics and other rumours that flew around in the air right up to the day of the election.
The defeated candidate, Poton, reiterated his desire to remain with football.
“Before the elections, I said that I want to be with football and I am still with football. However, my involvement in football depends on the newly-elected body. If they call me, I will definitely respond to them,” Poton said.
The Salahuddin-led panel, namely the Combined Panel, won three out of four vice-president posts and 12 out of 15 member posts. Abdus Salam Murshedy was elected unopposed as the senior vice-president.
Prior to the elections, the annual general meeting approved the financial statement of 2015 with some observation and also approved the draft 2016 expenditure of Tk 30 crore in a peaceful meeting. The only notable issue raised by a councillor was that of Tk 8 crore outstanding loan from the arrangement of Argentina versus Nigerian friendly in Dhaka in 2011. A BFF executive committee member replied to that query by saying that that particular loan owes to the chief sponsors of that event, and not the BFF.