No daily allowances for Indian Squash squad for CWG

By Bharat Sharma, IANS,

New Delhi : Indian squash players are not getting the daily allowances sanctioned by the sports ministry in January 2008 as part of their training for the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games, the players say.

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The core probables of Indian squash team (both men and women), according to norms laid down by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), are entitled to Rs.950 as daily allowance for diet, overheads and food supplements.

The players say they were unaware of the daily allowances they were to get during training.

The Squash Racket Federation of India (SRFI) received Rs 3.16 crores as grant from the ministry of youth affairs and sports at the start of 2009 for the training of players. In addition to that, SAI has also earmarked Rs. 9.27 crores for the overall preparation of the squad for the mega event.

The players say they were never informed by the SRFI about their daily allowances and now that they know, they cannot ask for the money as the Federation is slated to pick the final squad for the Games.

“The players from other sports are getting their daily allowance but we are not being paid. The federation never informs us on these matters. It is demotivating that we are getting treated this way. We are representing the country, after all,” was the general refrain of the players IANS spoke to.

“Squash may be a rich man’s game, but not all can afford to run out of pocket. If we are entitled to the money, we should be paid. The problem is if any player raises the issue with the federation he is in danger of getting dropped from the Games squad,” the players maintained, speaking on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons.

They say there is no point raising these issues with the federation. It is better to concentrate on the sport with Games that are less than two months away.

“In any case, you can’t fight the establishment,” was the general feeling

The consultant coach of the Indian team, Major (retd) S. Maniam, also pleaded ignorance about the allowance and the date of the team selection. When probed further, he hung up the phone.

SRFI officials say the money allocated for squash is being used wisely for the players’ training and the federation is doing the best it can.

“It is very difficult to talk about the players’ daily allowance. There are times when we take the fund from the government and sometimes we do the funding internally. In the last two years, we have got good support from the government. We have been able to send players and referees abroad for training. We are doing the best we can for the players,” said Rajiv Reddy, director-referees, SRFI.

The final squad for the Commonwealth Games is likely to be picked on the arrival of national coach Cyrus Poncha, who is currently Ecuador for the World Junior boys squash championship.

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])