Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh have moved on to their new fiscal year of 2020-21 after the 2019-20 fiscal year came to a close.
There were a lot of discussions and analysis of the budget and its various aspects. But one field of the Tk 5,01,577 crore budget has often been overlooked and that is how much the government spends on sports. The amount is not hefty and the amount is not enough for many federations as they struggle to find the money to expand their games.
The allocation for sports
The budget for the Ministry of Youth and Sports was Tk 1,485 crores primarily for the 2019-20 fiscal year and was revised to Tk 1,452 crores at the end of it.
Md. Faizul Kabir, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports told The Business Standard (TBS) that there was no fixed budget for sports rather it was the accumulated figure of the allocations to National Sports Council (NSC), BKSP, Directorate of Sports and the costs from stadium maintenance, projects and infrastructure.
"The allocation for sports was around Tk 600 crores approximately. The money goes to federations through the NSC. Also, we provide the federations with money to prepare for Olympic tournaments and also when they want to arrange any special tournaments. Also, the maintenance of the stadiums around the country is done from the ministry," Mr Kabir said.
The allocation for NSC in the 2019-20 fiscal year was Tk 150,62,00,000 but it had risen up to Tk 170,62,00,000 after revision as the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) were handed a special fund of Tk 20 crores. Tk 69 crores and six lacs was the revenue budget for NSC, which increased by Tk 20 crores in the revised budget because of the fund for BFF. The remaining Tk 81 crores and 56 lacs were spent on development and other projects.
BKSP received a total amount of Tk 48 crores in the last fiscal year whereas the Directorate of Sports received Tk 15,38,40,000.
There was also a Tk 32 crores grant for an Under-17 talent campaign from the ministry in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The big boys
Two of the country's biggest sports - cricket and football, stands on two exact opposites in case of the budget. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) takes no money from the ministry and rather goes about their activities on their own money.
BFF, on the other hand, received a special fund. It was the first time that BFF received a fund, claimed BFF General Secretary Abu Nayem Shohag.
"We received a Tk 20 crore fund from the national budget for the first time last year. From that, we have received Tk 10 crores and the rest is pending," Shohag said.
He also said that the government is in a tough situation right now and thus they have not pushed for anything in the 2020-21 budget and will do once the situation gets normal.
Is the money enough for the rest?
The money NSC receives from the ministry is distributed among 50 other federations outside of BCB. The Chess Federation receives Tk 12 lacs every year, with an additional Tk 15 lacs for development program in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The Swimming Federation received Tk 15,70,312 in the last fiscal year. They are supposed to receive Tk 21 lacs but they have not yet received it. They also received a pending amount of Tk 37 lacs from the 2018-19 fiscal year in the last completed year.
The Handball Federation receives a fixed amount of around Tk 17 lacs every year and they have also started receiving a special Tk 36 lacs fund from the 2019-20 fiscal year for the development of local Handball.
According to General Secretary Asaduzzaman Kohinoor, the Handball Federation has received two instalments of that grant and are yet to receive about Tk 12 lacs.
The fixed allocation for the Basketball Federation is around Tk 11 lacs, General Secretary Lt commander (retired) A K Sarker let TBS know. He also said that they also received some additional amount if there are international tournaments but he went on to add that this amount was not enough to take the game forward.
"If you want to spread this game throughout the country, then this fund is definitely not enough. Our yearly grant is not even enough to run the federation's programs at Dhaka," Sarker added.
Intekhabul Hamid, General Secretary of Bangladesh Shooting Federation informed TBS that the annual grant they received was Tk 16 lacs and also some other funds when required. But he also added that it was not enough for their federation.
"It would have been better if it was more. We have to spend the money on the improvement of shooting. We have to rely heavily on sponsors because shooting is an expensive game," Hamid added.
Hamid also added, "We need almost 20-30 lacs to arrange a tournament. Also, when we send shooters overseas, we need to spend around 2-5 lacs on each shooter for a tournament, depending on where the tournaments are."
"We also have difficulty finding sponsors as people are not that much interested in shooting because if you don't understand it, it is tough to watch it for more than an hour," said Hamid, sighing a little.
When contacted, Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) Secretary-General Sayed Shahed Reza told TBS that BOA did not receive any fixed grants from the NSC as it was a member of the International Olympic Committee.