Thinley Namgay

Professional footballers playing for the 13 football clubs registered with the Bhutan Football Federation are among the people who have applied for kidu.

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the business of club owners and football tournaments suspended, clubs owners are struggling to look after their players.

Thimphu City FC’s owner, Hishey Tshering, said his club had been providing accommodation to eight players with a monthly rent of Nu 17,000. As of now, he is still paying the rent. The owner depends on his tourism business to fund the club. However, with business down, the club is affected.

“Five of my players have applied for the kidu,” said Hishey Tshering. There are 23 players, two managers and a coach with Thimphu City FC. From 23 players, only two have regular jobs. Ten of them are national players.

Transport United FC has been paying a rent of Nu 20,000 for nine players. However, the club’s board member, Yeshey Samdrup, said that the club had to send the players to their villages since April 26. “We will not be able to pay the house rent and other expenditure from next month.”

“Almost all the players from my club have applied for the kidu. We are waiting for the confirmation,” said Yeshey Samdrup.

Tsenda Dorji is one of the Transport players leaving for his village. He said he would go to his village in Trashigang and help his parents.  “I will keep training in the village. I think the football league this year will not continue, but I am determined that I can sustain my life by focusing on football. But we need to be fit,” said Tsenda Dorji.

Tsenda Dorji joined Transport United recently. Until last month the club paid salary for the 12 players who depend on football for livelihood.

Paro FC’s Technical Director and Head Coach, Puspalal Sharma, said that to sustain the club and at the same time not to let the players and other employee struggles, the club has decided to deduct the salary from this month. “Those with high pay scale will see a drastic cut,” he said.

Until last month the club has paid full salary to all the players.

“Our players can sustain as our salary scale is more. We have also instructed the players with more salary not to apply for the kidu. But few players with salary scale below 20,000 have applied,” said Puspalal Sharma.

Earlier the club used to provide accommodation, but since January this year, they increased the salary and withheld the accommodation. There are 22 players in the club including six national players.

At present all the players of the BFF academy and other senior national players are staying home. National players continue to get monthly salary.