Hosts Bangladesh and Laos were declared joint champions in the inaugural Bangamata Under-19 Women’s International Gold Cup football tournament after rain washed out final under the influence of cyclonic storm Fani on Friday.
Tournament committee chairman and Bangladesh Football Federation senior vice-president Abdus Salam Murshedy announced the decision at 6:26pm, about half-an-hour from the scheduled start.
‘The match has been cancelled after observing the climate situation of the country and apprehending the horrific condition by natural disaster ‘Fani’, which is likely to hit in Bangladesh tonight,‘ Murshedy said.
‘We are announcing the suspension of the final and declaring both teams as joint champions. We have followed the tournament bylaws as well as of the AFC and the FIFA rules.’
Murshedy informed that The Local Organising Committee and the Tournament Organising Committee jointly took the decision and both teams’ officials and sponsor organisation accepted it as a ‘good decision.’
According to the official decision, both teams will equally share the prize money of $40,000.
Bangladesh will keep the trophy and a replica has been ordered, which will reach to Laos directly from London, said Bangladesh Football Federation general secretary Abu Nayeem Shohag.
Part of the Bangabandhu National Stadium, the lone venue used for the tournament, was under ankle deep water but the organisers made no move to clear it despite rain ceased to a halt in the evening.
Laos’s team manager Galdansukh Tuvshibayar said they were ready to play under the gloom.
’The weather is perfect to play the match, but we respect the decision as we are the part of this tournament,’ he said.
Sponsor organisation ‘K-sports’ chief executive officer Fahad Karim also agreed with the decision and said,’ I think, it’s a good decision. It will not be wise celebrating a football event amid natural disaster.’
About 5,000 fans gathered at the stadium to watch the final. The BFF said they would refund the fans provided they can show part of their tickets.
Both Bangladesh and Laos reached into the final with an all-win record but Laos were ahead in terms of goal scoring.
Bangladesh scored seven goals in three matches and conceded one while Laos scored 18 and conceded one.
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