Haryana has been a pioneer in offering government jobs to its meritorious sportspersons and awarding prize money for their achievements. But in a new notification dated April 30 from the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, the state has asked its sportspersons to “deposit one-third of the income earned by them from professional sports or commercial endorsements with the Haryana State Sports Council”.
The notification says that sportspersons will have to seek extraordinary leave (without pay) when they are participating in professional sports events. The step, according to the state government, has been taken for the development of sports in Haryana. The notification is applicable to any sportsperson employed with any department of the state government and is participating in professional sports or commercial endorsements.
The notification is likely to affect a number of sportspersons in Haryana, including hockey player Sardar Singh, former boxers Akhil Kumar, Jitender Kumar, amateur boxers Vikas Yadav and Manoj Kumar. Wrestlers like Geeta Phogat, Yogeshwar Dutt and Mausam Khatri will also be affected. Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik will also be affected by the order. Some of them have protested the order.
“God save us from such officials, who are taking senseless decisions like this. Their contribution to development of sports in Haryana has been zero but I am sure, they will play a big role in the decline of sports in the state,” Dutt tweeted. “Now, athletes will move to other states and these officials will be responsible for this.”
ऐसे अफसर से राम बचाए, जब से खेल विभाग में आए है तब से बिना सिर -पैर के तुग़लकी फ़रमान जारी किए जा रहे है।हरियाणा के खेल-विकास में आपका योगदान शून्य है किंतु ये दावा है मेरा इसके पतन में आप शत् प्रतिशत सफल हो रहे है।अब हरियाणा के नए खिलाड़ी बाहर पलायन करेंगे और SAHAB आप ज़िम्मेदार pic.twitter.com/YazW6YLqTB
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) 8 June 2018
Three years ago, boxer Vijender Singh’s decision to turn professional had caused a furore in Haryana as he was asked to give up his job with Haryana Police. Though he was later allowed to keep his job and compete professionally, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued a notice to the Haryana government saying that it was against the sports policy of the state.
What the state government said
Haryana’s Principal Secretary of Sports and Youths Affairs, Ashok Khemka, said that the condition does not apply to all sportspersons from Haryana, and only to those employed with the Haryana government.
“Any athlete who is employed with Haryana government and also wants to play professionally falls under the category and we are asking only one-third of the income from the professional contract. It’s a concession that we have given to players who want to turn professionals,” Khemka told IndianExpress.com.
The notification also has a second condition. It states “in case the sportsperson is treated on duty with the prior approval of the competent authority while taking part in professional sports or commercial endorsements, the full income earned by the sportsperson on this account will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council”.
“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,” Khemka said.