Haryana state government on Friday brought bad news for its athletes.
According to the official gazette, athletes from Haryana who are employed by any Department of the State Government or any body controlled by the state will have to pay one-third of their incomes from professional sports or commercial endorsements. The athletes will pay one-third when they are on leave (without pay) whereas if they are not on leave, the athletes will have to pay 100 per cent of their earning to Haryana Sports Council.
The new rule was expected to spark controversies as sports other than cricket do not get many endorsements or money from professional sports.
Here’s how wrestlers reacted to the bizarre diktat –
“I’ve just learnt about this and I’m shocked. This is harassment of sportspersons and why should we contribute to the sports council?And if we are being forced, then why isn’t (Ashok) Khemka (Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs Department) paying a part of his salary too? No one has an idea that as sportspersons how much effort we put in to win laurels and in the end, we get this. This is unjustified and unacceptable,” said Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler Babita Phogat in conversation with Times Now.
I am saddened by notification. It seems as if illiterate people are making policies. Do they not know that we’re already paying taxes on money we win in competitions. If this is how things are going to work the medal count will go down: Babita Phogat on Haryana Govt notification pic.twitter.com/YOSLS4tFDZ
— ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2018
Babita’s elder sister and Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler Babita Phogat in conversation with Times Now said:
“It is understandable if this new rule is applied to cricketers since they earn a lot from the sport as well as through endorsements. However, from athletes from sports such as wrestling, kabaddi and boxing etc., this is extremely disappointing. 33% is a huge amount and in such a case, what will remain with the athlete?”
हरियाणा में खेलों को बढ़ावा देने वाली सरकारें तो देखी थी पर खेलों ओर खिलाड़ियों को धीरे -१ ख़त्म करने की नीति वाली सरकार पहली बार देख रहे हैं pic.twitter.com/lVggWOD8ln
— geeta phogat (@geeta_phogat) June 8, 2018
This policy should be reviewed. Govt should establish a committee of senior sportspersons & take their input before forming a policy of this type. This will affect the morale of sportspersons & might affect their performance as well: Sushil Kumar, on Haryana Govt’s notification pic.twitter.com/NXcZ9WZsWC
— ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2018
Haryana’s Principal Secretary of Sports and Youths Affairs, Ashok Khemka justified the decision despite protests,
“If you are employed with the state and you then want to sell your services to someone else, then you need to pay the state. This is normal and we are just asking for 33 per cent. See Vijender’s example. He went to England to box professionally and he is employed with Haryana Police. He is free to do whatever he wants but now he has to pay 33 percent of his professional earnings,”
The question remains that if players have to pay the government out of their own pocket for the development of sports in the state, where does the taxpayer’s money go?