Hockey India on Tuesday threatened not to send men’s and women’s teams to Commonwealth and Asian Games citing lack of fund allocation from the government but Sports Authority of India downplayed it, saying that the issue will be sorted out as additional money will be given to HI.
HI secretary general Narinder Batra said SAI has informed him that only Rs 31 lakh was left for hockey upto March 31, 2015 and that amount would not be sufficient to send teams to CWG and Asian Games. Batra said if additional funds were not allocated, HI will be left with no other option but to withdraw hockey teams from CWG and Asian Games.
“SAI in a letter has informed us only Rs 31 lakh is left for hockey upto March 31, 2015 and we have CWG, Asian Games and Champions Trophy in India. We had given SAI a budget of Rs 38 crore for 2014-15 but they allocated Rs 10 crore for hockey out of which we have already spent Rs 9.69 crore from April till June this year,” Batra told PTI.
“Rs 31 lakh is not sufficient to send teams to CWG and Asian Games. Last year, Rs 24 crore was allocated. If the government doesn’t allocate additional funds, we will be forced to withdraw our teams. How can I send teams for three major events and organise camps with just Rs 31 lakh? The ball is in government’s court. Let them take a call.”
SAI Director General Jiji Thomson, however, said that the issue will be sorted out as it is expecting more money from the government once the full budget is presented on July 10.
“It is true that HI was allocated Rs 10 crore and since they have spent more than Rs 9 crore, it was my duty to tell them that they have Rs 31 lakh remaining under ACTC 2014-15. But, I am sure this hockey issue will be sorted out after the Union budget,” Thomson said.
“We have been given Rs 155 crore only by the government this year, just a marginal increase of Rs 5 crore from last year and so there was this fund constraint. Now, we are working on the basis of money allocated on vote of account. Once the full budget is presented on July 10, we are hoping to get more money from government, at least 40 crore more.
“Once that is done, we will allocate additional money for hockey. There’s no need to worry,” said Thomson.
Batra also said that the government owed Rs 2-3 crore to HI in the form of pending bills.
“We have bills overdue to the tune of Rs 2-3 crore for one-and-a-half years but SAI is in no mood to clear them.”
He said the government funding takes care of 75 per cent of the total annual spending and the rest 25 per cent is borne by the federation from its sponsorship deals.
“SAI gives Rs 250 per day per player for food supplement whereas out players need Rs 450 per day for supplements and the balance amount is taken care of by us,” Batra said.
“We also have to take care of our establishment cost, players uniform. The expenditure on the development teams is also borne by us as the SAI is yet to take note of it despite repeated proposals,” he added.
Indian team is scheduled to take part in three major events this year – Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3, Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea from September 19 to October 4 and the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy to be held in Bhubaneswar from December 13-21.