When country’s regular sports are struggling for fund, the government assembled an undisclosed amount of money to host the World Cup of little-known sport Roll Ball from February 17 to 24.
With the tournament set to roll on in less than three weeks time, the hosts Bangladesh Roller-Skating Federation is yet to know the number of participating teams and total number foreign delegates visiting.
Ahmed Asiful Hasan, the general secretary of Bangladesh Roller Skating Federation, said a total of 40 countries have made their entries for the tournament and the number could cross 50.
Teams would be allowed to send their entry until January 30.
‘So far 480 delegates, including players and officials, have confirmed their participation,’ said Asif. ‘We hope the number of teams would rise up to nearly 55. In that case a total of 750 delegates would visit Bangladesh for the tournament.
Asif added that Bangladesh government would assist the federation to bear the entire expenses of the tournament but refused to disclose the budget and source of money.
‘We would arrange the money with our own initiative and will not take any sponsor. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina is our chief patron and she told us not to take any sponsor,’ he said.
Tough the federation general secretary refused to disclose the budget the National Sports Council secretary Ashoke Kumar Biswash on Thursday said they are spending Tk 18 crore on the construction of a stadium and renovation of different dormitories.
A venue is being constructed at the expense of car parking areas of the Bangabandhu National Stadium complex, raising quite a few eyebrows as officials of different sports federation said this would create a huge problem during the major competitions in future.
The stadium has already been named after Sheikh Russell, the younger brother of prime minister Hasina.
Beside the tournament venue, the NSC was also renovating its own dormitories to accommodate the visiting teams.
‘When the world body of roll-ball selected Bangladesh as host of multi-country event, the government took it as an opportunity to project Bangladesh positively to the world,’ Ashoke told New Age on Thursday.
‘Usually we accommodate the players from other countries at different hotels but it would require a huge amount of money this time. This is why we have decided to accommodate the players and officials in our different dormitories.’
Ashoke admitted that building a new venue at the parking space of Bangabandhu National Stadium would create a problem in future but insisted they have an alternative plan.
‘We are planning to build new parking facilities at the NSC Tower premises, which we hope would provide a solution to the problem,’ he said.
Federation general secretary Asif took pride in the fact that they were going to be the second sporting body of the country to host a global event after the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
The BCB hosted eight matches of World Cup in 2011 and then hosted ICC World Twenty20 in 2014. They also hosted the ICC Under-19 World Cup twice in 2004 and 2016.
‘We are the one of the two sports federations to host a World Cup, which would be a great success for us,’ he said.
The officials of other federations, however, were not that amused.
‘I don’t know why the authorities are installing such a structure in such a historical place like Paltan Maidan,’ said Badal Roy, the vice-president of the Bangladesh Football Federation and also the treasurer of NSC.
‘So far, I know the prime minister once instructed all of us to keep the Paltan Maidan open. But now we found this structure is being constructed,’ said Roy, adding that the project was not discussed in NSC executive body.
Asaduzzaman Kohinoor, the general secretary of Bangladesh Handball Federation, was also left in a quagmire over the tournament.
‘We are struggling to run the game smoothly for lack of fund but we are now seeing huge activities involving a sport which is very little known. I don’t know how it will help our sports in general,’ he said.
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