THE MUMBAI players are set to take a pay cut. Earlier this year, after the team clinched the Ranji Trophy title for the 41st time by defeating Saurashtra in Pune, they received Rs 4 crore — Rs 2 crore as prize money, and Rs 2 crore as bonus from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The MCA distributed the prize money among the players and paid Rs 5 lakh each as bonus to all the support staff.
But a few days ago, the players received a letter informing them that due to a “calculation error”, they had received “excess” payment, which would be deducted from their logo sponsorship income.
Confirming this, MCA Joint Secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar said the decision was taken in order to top-up coach Chandrakant Pandit’s incentive.
“The managing committee discussed the issue a few months ago. It was decided that as previous coaches were considered as players, and not as members of the support staff, when it came to paying them, Pandit should also get the same share. He received the bonus which the other support staff got, but the managing committee felt the amount should match what the players received,” said Khanvilkar.
“As the money had already been distributed, it was felt that the required sum should be deducted from the next sponsorship logo amount which the MCA receives, so that Pandit would receive his share,” he said.
So while Pandit received Rs 5 lakh earlier, he is set to get about Rs 25 lakh more. For this, the top players are likely to lose about Rs 2 lakh each.
The letter to the players, however, does not mention that the amount recovered from them will be passed on to their coach. “Please note that we have paid excess (due to calculation error) Ranji Trophy winner prize money for the season 2015-16 to you. However, the managing committee decided to recover the said excess payment made to you from the NECC logo money for 2015-16 payable to you,” says the letter.
The Mumbai players aren’t too happy about taking a cut in their sponsorship revenue, and are planning to approach the MCA for an explanation. “It is unfair, if they wish to make extra payment to the coach, they should deduct it from the MCA’s coffers. Why should we suffer? This also spoils the dressing room atmosphere. The letter from MCA came as a shock and is very misleading,” said a player.
Asked why the MCA could not pay Pandit from its funds, Khanvilkar said: “It was the MCA which paid the winning team. As the money had already been distributed, how could we recover it? Players are busy and may not have the time to do an RTGS transaction. So the decision was taken to deduct money from their logo sponsorship.”
According to sources, the MCA managing committee was initially reluctant to pay the additional amount to Pandit. MCA Treasurer Nitin Dalal even wrote a letter to BCCI, seeking clarity on the rightful distribution of the prize money.
In its reply, BCCI said the prize money could only be distributed among the players, and not the support staff. It pointed out that if the support staff had to be paid a bonus, the money would have to come from the association’s coffers.