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Haryana’s New Sports Development Plan Involves Taking Money From Athletes

The Haryana government's notification asking athletes to donate 33 per cent of their earnings for development of sports in the state has been put on hold following criticism from the sports fraternity.
Manohar lal Khattar

Image Coutesy: ANI

Sportspersons across disciplines have come out criticising Haryana government’s logic-defying way to ensure “development of sports” in the state – asking its athletes to donate one-third of their earnings from professional competitions and endorsements to the Haryana Sports council.

The Haryana government issued the notification in a special Gazette published on April 30, stating that the fund generated will be used for development of sports and budding talent in Haryana.

"One-third of the income earned by sportspersons from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council, amount to be used for development of sports in the state," the notification read.

After receiving flak from all quarters, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Friday that the notification has been put on hold and that he will review the file.

"I have asked for the relevant file of Sports Department to be shown to me & the notification dated 30th April to be put on hold till further orders.We are proud of the immense contribution by our sportspersons & I assure them of a just consideration of all issues affecting them," Khattar tweeted.

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Interestingly, it was also in the month of April that the Haryana government, which used to be in the forefront in promoting athletes with huge prize money for international medals, cancelled a ceremony to felicitate the winners from the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The state had proposed a cut in the prize money and following protests from CWG gold medallists including Vinesh Phogat and Neeraj Chopra, the felicitation ceremony was scrapped.’

This drastic change in approach towards sports from a state which prided itself as a champion factory, is shocking, and the sporting fraternity was quick to criticise the move.

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Geeta Phogat said that while such a rule may not pinch the cricketers, but athletes from other disciplines, who struggle for managing funds for training and competition, would suffer.

"This new rule makes a mockery of sportspersons. There is no such rule for cricketers who earn much more than those from other sports. Cricketers make a lot of money from endorsements, but those from other sports like boxing, kabaddi and wrestling do not earn much," star wrestler Geeta Phogat told a television channel.

"If we give up a third of our earnings, it will not be feasible for us. In such a scenario, what will be left for us?" she questioned.

Geeta’s sister, Babita Phogat, expressed her anger with a tweet, asking what is the “government trying to prove” with such a move.

Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar urged the Haryana authorities to review the policy.

"Government should establish a committee of senior sportspersons and take their input before forming a policy of this type. This will affect the morale of sportspersons and might affect their performance," he said.

(With inputs from IANS)​

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