Defending champions Dhaka Abahani Limited will play newcomers Bangladesh Police Football Club in the opening match of the 31st TVS Federation Cup Football Tournament beginning here on Wednesday (Dec 18).
The match will kick-off at 4;pm at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
On the next day (Thursday), Saif SC will play against Rahmatganj MFS at 3:30 pm while Bashundhara Kings will play against Brothers Union Club at 6:15 pm.
Thirteen clubs from Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) -- split into four groups -- are taking part in the season’s curtain raiser soccer meet.
Dhaka Abahani put in Group A with Arambagh Krira Sangha and Bangladesh Police FC while Federation Cup runners-up and BPL Champions Bashundhara Kings have been placed in Group B along with Chattogram Abahani Limited and Brothers Union Club.
Saif Sporting Club were put in Group C along with Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited and Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society and the four-team Group D comprises Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited, Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra, Dhaka Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited and BCL Runners-up Uttar Baridhara Sporting Club.
The teams will play in the group stage on round robin league basis. Two teams from each group will play in the quarterfinals on December 26 and 27.
Two semifinals will be held on January 1 and 2 while the final will be held on January 4, all at the same venue.
Federation Cup Football, is a qualifying tournament for AFC Cup Football
Police in Spain's restive northeast are preparing to ensure that next week's clásico soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid won't be adversely affected by a massive protest.
Catalan separatists are planning to gather in large numbers around the Camp Nou and possibly carry out actions inside Barcelona's stadium on Wednesday when Madrid comes to play in one of the most watched matches of the season.
The heads of the regional police in Catalonia said on Friday there would be a combined 3,000 police officers and private security workers paid by the Barcelona club to guarantee the game is played.
"It is a match that requires a special police detail," regional interior minister Miquel Buch said. "The (Catalan regional police) will guarantee access to the match."
Police chief Eduard Sallent said police will establish two perimeters. One will guarantee the buses for Barcelona, Madrid and the referee crew arrive at the stadium. The second will work to allow the public to enter and to prevent potential confrontations between more radical separatists and those who support Spanish unity.
The online separatist platform Tsunami Democratic said this week that more than 18,000 people have signed up to join the protest and buses have been organized to bring protesters to Barcelona from other towns.
Their goal is to use the worldwide television and media coverage of the game to echo their calls for secession from the rest of Spain, and the release of nine high-profile separatists who were recently sentenced to prison terms for leading a failed breakaway attempt by Catalonia in 2017.
Tsunami Democratic said in a message posted on the Telegram messaging service recently that "many of these people, with tickets or season passes as club members, have received instructions to carry out the acts planned for the game."
Sallent said the police are not ruling out an attempt by separatists to interrupt the match.
"One of the situations could be a pitch invasion," Sallent said. "We don't think it is probable, but it is possible, and we have a detail designed for it. The club's private security would be in charge of handling it, but the Catalan police will be there to help."
Tsunami Democratic is a shadowy group whose leaders and operators are not publicly known, but leading separatist politicians, lawmakers, and activists have supported and promoted its use. It developed its own app for smart phones and also uses other messaging services to advocate for what it calls "peaceful civil disobedience."
The platform sends messages to its followers telling them where to gather for protests and what to do.
Tsunami Democratic carried out its first major action in October when it organized a large protest following the guilty verdict for some of the movement's leaders. A call by Tsunami Democratic led to thousands of angry protesters gathering at Barcelona's airpor t. A massive street fight broke out between the most radical protesters and police both outside and inside the terminal, and about 150 flights were cancelled as transport to and from the airport was stopped for hours. Protests by separatists continued each night for a week following the verdict, leaving more than 500 people injured, half of them police officers.
The clásico was originally scheduled for Oct. 26, but fears of a protest at the time led the Spanish soccer federation to agree to the league's request to postpone it.
The decision is now being criticized by some since the protesters appear to have gained time to organize themselves better.
"We are not concerned. We want to play the match with the maximum guarantees of security," Madrid defender Dani Carvajal said. "We don't know if it was an error to postpone it. It is easy to say so in retrospect."
Camp Nou is Europe's biggest stadium with capacity for 99,000 spectators. The clásico is its biggest game of the season. As of Friday, the only tickets not sold out were VIP seats that cost 1,250 euros ($1,390).
Separatist sentiment grew sharply in Catalonia during the global economic recession that hit Spain hard. The 7.5 million residents of Catalonia, which is one of Spain's wealthiest regions, are roughly equally split by the secession question, according to polls and election results.
Separatists have used the Camp Nou to make their voice heard for several years. They shout for "independence" at a set time during matches and sometimes unfurl banners.
Barcelona, as a club, has walked a fine line between supporting the right to expression by its fans and aligning itself with the greater interests of Catalonia, while not supporting secession and trying not to anger its Catalan fans who are not separatists and its millions of supporters across Spain.
"We all share the responsibility to make sure the match is played," Barcelona president Josep Barotmeu said on Thursday.
"We know that Catalonia is going through a complicated moment, but (free expression) is compatible with sport," he said. "We are telling our club members to bring their families, their friends. Between all of us we can make this clásico a celebration of sport and civility."
Defending champions Dhaka Abahani Limited were put in Group A with Arambagh Krira Sangha and Champions of Bangladesh Championship League (BCL) Bangladesh Police Football Club in the 31st TVS Federation Cup Football 2019-20.
The tournament will begin December 16 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
Thirteen clubs from Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) – split into four groups – are going to participate in the season’s curtain raiser soccer meet.
Runners-up of the Federation Cup 2018 and BPL Champions Bashundhara Kings have been placed in Group B alongwith Chattogram Abahani Limited and Brother Union Football Club. Saif Sporting Club were put in Group C alongwith Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Limited and Rahmatganj Muslim Friends Society.
The four-team Group C comprises Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited, Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra, Dhaka Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited and BCL Runners-up Uttar Baridhara Sporting Club.
The fixture is yet to be announced. The teams will play in the group stage on round robin league basis.
Two teams from each group will play quarterfinals on December 26 and 27. The semifinals will be held on January 1 and 2 while the final will be held on January 4, all at the same venue.
The draw and logo unveiling ceremony of the meet were held at the Bangladesh Football Federation House in Motijheel on Friday.
BFF Senior Vice-President Abdus Salam Murshedy, General Secretary Md Abu Nayeem Shohag, Executive Committee members Abdur Rahim, Zakir Hossain Chowdhury, Fazlur Rahman Babul, Bangladesh Police FC Team manager and Additional IGP Sheikh Mohammad Maruf Hasan and participating team’s representatives were present on the occasion.
BFF General Secretary Md Abu Nayeem Shohag disclosed the details of the meet.
“We haven’t confirmed the date and time yet. We will announce those on Saturday,” Shohag said.
Murshedy, also chairman of the Professional Football League Committee, said, “I hope the teams will play their best football in the meet. The champions will be rewarded Tk 5 lakh while runners-up will get Tk 3 lakh. Each team will get Tk 1 lakh as participation money. Besides, we have included fair play award this year.”
He said the tournament organising committee has included some new rules and regulations for the clubs, players and coaching staffs. “We don’t want any uneventful occurrence in the field. I hope the clubs will follow the rules,” Murshedy added.
Bangladesh Police FC Team manager and Additional IGP Sheikh Mohammad Maruf Hasan said he hoped the players, coaching staffs and supporters will control their excitement to maintain a positive environment in the stadium.
Federation Cup is the country’s premier knockout football competition. The champions of the meet earn a spot in the AFC Cup qualifying round.
Bayern Munich is running out of healthy players as it bids to make up lost ground in the Bundesliga.
The Bavarian club ended a run of two league losses with a 3-1 win over Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday, but has few options ahead of three Bundesliga games in a week.
Bayern hosts struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday, then visits Freiburg on Wednesday before its final game before Christmas against Wolfsburg in Munich.
France winger Kingsley Coman was forced off in pain after landing awkwardly on his left leg against Tottenham, leaving interim coach Hansi Flick with only 13 players from the senior team for Bremen's visit.
Niklas Süle, Lucas Hernandez, Fiete Arp and Michael Cuisance are all out, Javi Martinez is suspended, and Corentin Tolisso is doubtful with a left thigh problem picked up in last weekend's 2-1 loss at league leader Borussia Mönchengladbach.
David Alaba, who missed the win over Tottenham, is expected to return, as will top scorer Robert Lewandowski, who was given a break Wednesday as Bayern wrapped up six wins from six in the Champions League.
Coman won't play again this year, though his injury isn't as serious as initially feared. Bayern said Thursday the Frenchman only has a capsule tear in his left knee, pulled his biceps tendon and jarred the knee joint.
"We all got a huge shock," Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said. "He had a couple of serious injuries in the last one or two years, that's why you always think the worst."
Bayern is already seven points behind Gladbach after last weekend's loss.
"It's important that we don't give away any more points in the Bundesliga," Bayern midfielder Joshua Kimmich said.
Bremen should provide a return to form. The northern team's losing streak to Bayern goes back over 17 games, a league record.
Interim coach Flick, who took over from the fired Niko Kovac, started with four wins in all competitions before two somewhat unfortunate Bundesliga losses ended the honeymoon start.
Still, the former Germany assistant coach has the backing of Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who intimated Wednesday that he may be kept on until the end of the season.
"Hansi has our trust. I'm convinced that he will live up to it," said Rummenigge, who said a decision on whether Flick remains coach after the winter break will be made in the days after the Wolfsburg game on Dec. 21.
Bayern captain Manuel Neuer is among those calling for Flick to stay.
"Everything has been going great in the team so far. The communication is super and the philosophy suits us," Neuer said. "That's why we're all positive when it comes to the coach."
Takumi Minamino could soon become the first Japanese player to sign for Liverpool.
Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund said Thursday his club is in talks with Liverpool over the transfer of the 24-year-old Minamino, who impressed in two games between the teams in the group stage of the Champions League this season.
"We're honored by the kind of clubs who are interested in our players," Freund said on Salzburg's Twitter page.
Minamino, an attacking midfielder who can also play as a forward, joined Salzburg from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka in 2015. He reportedly has a release clause of 7.25 million pounds ($9.5 million).
Klopp was very complimentary about the way Salzburg attacked Liverpool in his team's 2-0 win on Tuesday, which sealed the defending champions's spot in the last 16 and dropped Salzburg into the Europa League.
The other two members of Salzburg's forward line, Norway's Erling Braut Håland and South Korea's Hwang Hee-chan, have also been linked with moves away from the club.
Shinji Okazaki won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, while Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton) and Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal and Fulham) are among other Japanese to have played in England's top division.