Unpaid foreign players for two months

Thinley Namgay

Former Daga United FC president, Pelchen Thai, who resigned from his position on June 10, refuted claims made by coach Azmul Hossain.   

Azmul Hossain recently stated that the club did not provide refreshments and food to the players.  Pelchen Thai denies the claim.

During the post-match conference following a 6-1 loss against Samtse FC,  Azmul Hossain criticised the club’s management for not supporting the team. He claimed that foreign players had not received their salaries for two months, which demotivated the team,

“Coach alone cannot motivate the players. It’s not easy,” the coach said.  

Azmul returned to Bangladesh on June 10 but informed the club’s social media group that he would be back on June 22.

He expressed his shock at the large margin of the defeat, stating that he had never experienced such a loss before. He will miss the next crucial game against RTC FC in Dagana on June 14.

Pelchen Thai acknowledged the club’s failure to pay the foreign players for two months, but said that an international sponsors had promised to cover their salaries.

“Regarding the foreign players’ salaries, I have  international sponsor who is going to pay them. For the local players, the club paid between Nu 15,000 and Nu 17,000 so far,” he said.

The club recruited five foreign players for the season, with the Nigerian player receiving a salary of USD 600 per month. Pelchen believes the international sponsor delayed payments due to the club’s poor performance in recent games.

He said that the club provides food and lodging at the Dagapela club house, and the community has been supporting the team. Regarding the coach’s salary, Pelchen  clarified that the coach was sent by his agent and there were no salary issues with him.

Former president also said that Bhutan Football Federation’s (BFF) decision impacted the team’s performance against Thimphu City FC on May 30, where Daga United FC lost 7-2 at home.

The BFF sanctioned three foreign players of Daga United on the ground of  an  alleged match-fixing during their game against Tensung FC on May 23. Pelchen said he received this information at the last minute and demanded evidence within 24 hours, which BFF did not provide.

However, one foreign player was allowed to play against Samtse FC on June 6.  Pelchen who formed the club this year to provide opportunities to the youth of Dagana, mentioned the financial challenges faced by the team due to a lack of major local sponsors. In six months, Thai estimated that the club needed to invest Nu 3.94 million for the ongoing league.

BFF’s six-month grant is Nu 300,000 per team.  Pelchen stated that traveling to Samtse alone costs around Nu 80,000 and to Thimphu around Nu 100,000, leading to a credit of Nu 400,000. BFF provides each team with Nu 50,000 per away match. 

Pelchen Thai resigned to reduce the burden of managing two clubs, as Daga United also has a women’s team. He acknowledged criticisms of his management skills and handed over the role of President to a resident of Dagapela. “I will keep supporting the team as the club bears my name,” he said, adding that there is no personal gain from forming a club.

He suggested BFF increase travel subsidies and grants to help teams, especially new ones, sustain themselves.

BFF’s response

BFF’s media and marketing head, Phuntsho Wangdi,  confirmed that the coach’s statements at the post-match conference were true. He mentioned the need for new management for the club and informed the Dagana Dzongkhag Administration about this.

Phuntsho said that some foreign players complained to BFF about not receiving their salaries. “ Starting the BPL Qualifiers, players have complained about it. There are also dues to pay to the restaurants.”

Regarding the suspension of three foreign players for an alleged match-fixing against Tensung FC, Phuntsho said that an investigation is underway with the Anti-Corruption Commission and the report will be released soon.

Phuntsho stressed the importance of planning and securing sponsors to sustain a club. He stated that increasing travel subsidies and grants is not possible as these were decided in a meeting with all club representatives.

Daga United players’ perspective

One of the Daga United players mentioned that the club didn’t pay salaries on time despite repeated requests, which violates their agreement. The players have high hopes for their new president, who they say is an ardent supporter. “If our new president was not there at Dagapela, we wouldn’t have food and refreshments on time.”

Another player said that the former president resigned under pressure from the players. “Players informed former president that they are going to leave the team, if he remains in his position.”   

“Our team is strong. Local people are saying that they would also help us. We will continue the league,” a player said.