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Coach Terry Walsh agrees to stay, but with rider

Terry Walsh guided India to its first Asian Games gold medal since 1998 earlier this month in Incheon.

Written by Mihir Vasavda | Mumbai |
Updated: October 23, 2014 9:17:40 am

A day after lashing out at the bureaucracy, Terry Walsh patched up with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and decided to stay on as India coach after a ‘fruitful’ meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. The Australian, however, has demanded that he and high performance director Roelant Oltmans be given more decision-making powers.

A sports ministry source said they will work out a solution in a high-level meeting in the presence of sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal that will be held soon.

Walsh, who guided India to its first Asian Games gold medal since 1998 earlier this month, had resigned on Tuesday blaming the sporting bureaucracy.

In his meeting with the ministry officials, Walsh raised seven main points, ranging from his personal contract to constant political interference and flexibility in the decision making process.

While he did not raise any payment-related issue, Walsh demanded he be allowed to spend 120 days in Australia with his family. He stressed that it should ‘not be treated as leave but working stay in Australia and his salary should be paid in full.’ The SAI has in principle agreed to his demand but hasn’t yet decided on the number of days.

SAI director general Jiji Thomson said that issues raised by Walsh will be addressed in a fresh contract, which will be offered to him before his current contract expires on November 19.

“Since we never accepted his resignation, the question of its withdrawal does not arise. As per his contract, Walsh had to give us a month’s notice period which he gave today,” Thomson said.

“We had a fruitful meeting with him. The issues which he has raised can easily be solved. We will issue him a new contract, which will take into consideration all his demands,” he said.

Walsh’s resignation sparked off a blame game between Hockey India and SAI. While HI maintained that the pay dispute and bureaucracy had prompted Walsh to quit, SAI rubbished that claim, saying that the Australian had never complained of any financial issues.

They instead claimed that Walsh was ‘fed up’ with suffocating atmosphere within the federation.

Thomson set to go

Sports Authority of India director general Jiji Thomson is set to step down from the position this week. It is learnt that Thomson had informed sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal of his decision last week. Thomson was under pressure ever since taking on the influential heads of several sports federations, including Hockey India president Narinder Batra.

However, sources said he was miffed after being repeatedly ignored for promotion. A ministry source said efforts are on to convince him to continue.

“But he seems to have made up his mind. This might be his last week in charge unless the minister himself intervenes,” the source said.

Thomson, who was named the SAI DG in March last year, is likely to take charge as the chief secretary of the Kerala government.

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