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“One-third of the income earned by the sportsperson from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council. The money will be used for the development of sport in the State,” the notification, released by the Sports and Youth Affairs Department of the Haryana government, dated 30th April, 2018, said.
The circular has been undersigned by Ashok Khemka, Principal Secretary to Government of Haryana (Sports and Youth Affairs Department).
Athletes employed in any department of the Haryana government will be given extraordinary leave without pay. It further states that if “the sportsperson is treated on duty with the prior approval of the competent authority while taking part in professional sports or commercial endorsements, the full income earned by the sportsperson on this account will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council.”
“I have not yet seen the notification, I am only coming to know of it through media reports. I can only say that the athletes who compete in Olympic sports are already from very poor families,” double-Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar told PTI. “The government should make policies which encourage athletes. I haven’t heard of such a policy anywhere else in the world. The athlete should be competing with a free mind, not with stress like this,” he added.
Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt has criticised the move coming down heavily on the official issuing the order. On his Twitter account, Yogeshwar wrote, ” God save us (from the official). Since the time such officials have joined the sports department, they have been issuing baseless, Tughlaqi farmaan (diktat). Their contribution towards the growth of sports in Haryana is zero but I claim they are 100 percent succeeding in its decline. The athletes will move to other states and you will be the one to be blamed.”
ऐसे अफसर से राम बचाए, जब से खेल विभाग में आए है तब से बिना सिर -पैर के तुग़लकी फ़रमान जारी किए जा रहे है।हरियाणा के… https://t.co/yl3IxnxFUG
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) 1528440101000
He further wrote, “They are unaware of the fact that when players take part in professional leagues, they have to stay in different camps. How many approvals of leaves will they need and from how many places? When successful sportstars refuse to acknowledge
sahab (official), they come up with different ways to make their life difficult.”
Another Haryana wrestler Geeta Phogat spoke against the rule saying applying the rule to cricketers makes sense as they earn considerably more than others. “It is understandable if this new rule is applied to cricketers, since they earn a lot from the sport as well as through endorsements. But for athletes from sports such as wrestling, kabaddi, boxing this is extremely disappointing,” she told Times Now.
This is not the first time that Haryana government finds itself in the midst of a controversy involving its athletes. The government had to cancel a felicitation ceremony honouring the CWG medal winners from the state after several athletes threatened a boycott of the event.
As per Haryana’s sports policy, a CWG gold medallist from the state is to get Rs 1.5 crore, a silver medallist Rs 75 lakh and a bronze medallist Rs 50 lakh. But the state government recently stated that in case of athletes who represent institutions such as the Army or Railways and are given cash prizes by them, they would deduct the amount given by the institution from their stated sum.
So, if an athlete from Haryana, who represents the Railways, is given Rs 50 lakh by the Railways, the government would deduct Rs 50 lakh from its own prize money of Rs 1.5 crore for that athlete. In effect, he/ she would get Rs 1 crore.