Please open the clubs that have been closed during anti-casino drive

Tuesday 26th November 2019

The police started the anti-casino drive raiding different clubs in Dhaka on 18 September. Young Men's Club Fakirapul, Dhaka Wanderers, Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Charka and another Banani club were raided on the first day. The law enforcement in the next few days also put Arambagh, Dilkusha, Victoria and Mohammedan clubs under lock and key, on the same ground. However, the clubs have not been opened in the last two months, which is hampering the club's sports activities.

Aramnagh Krira Sangha have been hit hard by this casina saga. The football season kicks off next month with the Federation Cup and most of the teams have completed their transfer business by 20 November. They will start their residential camps, too.

However, Arambagh are under lock and key so they cannot start their camp. They are not in a position to keep the players somewhere else and pay the rent.

The club have requested the law enforcement to open the club but to no avail. Its general secretary Yakub Ali said, "We cannot go to the club. We had our team talks on the street. We did go to Motijheel Police Station a few times but all they say is that they have got no orders from the up. The Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) have also not taken any steps. They said they could do nothing without speaking to the high-ups."

How will the players go to the clubs then? What about their preparations? How long will the organisers roam around outside the club? With the football season beginning, players and organisers are supposed to be visiting the club regularly. When the club itself is under lock and key, how will they function?

The only club that has been kept open is Mohammedan Sporting Club. However, the room where the casino used to be held is under lock and key. The other rooms are open, so they could at least continue their other businesses.

There is no way we can tolerate the clubs becoming a hub for gambling, but at the same time the clubs should be able to function on their own. Individuals that have been using the clubs to serve their own purposes should be brought to book.

However, the clubs cannot remain closed for an indefinite period. We urge the authorities to open the clubs so that they can once again become sports hubs. Let the clubs buzz with sports activities again.

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