Bhutan drops out of youth games because of exams

Bhutan Football Federation expects to have to pay fines of about US$ 16,000 for not playing in the Asian Football Confederation under-17 and under-20 qualifying championships. “We are expecting to be slapped maximum fines because we withdrew at the last minute after the venues had been fixed, fixtures had been drawn and the host countries had invested for the organisation,” a BFF official told Bishal Rai of Kuensel-Online.

The withdrawal was caused by the Bhutan education department refusing to release Class X and XII boys playing in the teams on the grounds that they had to appear at examinations. The BFF has previously assured the education department that the tournament would be conluded about two weeks before the examinations and the parents had consented to let their boys play in the games in Bangladesh and Kyrgyistan. The BFF had previously decided not to include players from Classes VII, IX and XI because their annual school examinations coincided with the tournament.

While the U-20 national team comprised mostly of boys from Thimphu schools, a nine month ‘talent hunt’ had meant the U-17 team had players from across the country.