Sports, Football

‘One male player’s salary enough to form a women's team’

Published : 01 Apr 2024 09:34 PM

The return of the Bangladesh Women's Football League in 2020 promised to elevate both playing standards and player compensation. However, the upcoming season faces setbacks on both fronts.

Bashundhara Kings, the sole top-tier men's club with a women's team, has withdrawn due to reported salary demands from national team players. This means, for the first time, no Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) clubs will participate.

Previously, during the league's initial run (2012-2013), several BPL clubs were involved. When the league restarted in 2020, Kings dominated, signing most national players.

Following their withdrawal, Nasrin Sporting Club stepped in to sign 17 former Kings players, including national team members. Sabina Khatun, captain of Nasrin, denied claims of excessive salary demands. Instead, she highlighted the significant pay gap between men's and women's football in Bangladesh.

Khatun argues that while women's achievements are celebrated, clubs often neglect their financial needs. She points out that the money spent on a single male footballer could support an entire women's team. 

"Yes, I have also heard whispers about players asking for huge sums. But I also have a question, who asked for a huge payment?" said the Bangladesh women's team captain.

"Everyone praises women's footballers when we do well. But it is not just the federation's duty to look after the financial situation of female booters. There are a lot of clubs in the country. With the money they pay to just one male footballer, they can run an entire women's team. I don't think the girls demanded exuberant amounts," she added.

While content with their Nasrin compensation, Khatun encourages other clubs to join the league. Similar sentiments were echoed by Mahfuza Akter Kiran, Chair of the BFF Women's Wing. She emphasizes the importance of BPL clubs' participation for a competitive and sustainable league. Atatur Rahman Bhuiyan Collage SC, another team, has also signed national players in anticipation of the upcoming season.