In a shocking notification, the Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Department has asked all sportspersons in the state to deposit one-third of their income for social welfare. The circular asks athletes to deposit 33 percent of their income, earned from both professional sports and commercial endorsements, to the Haryana State Sports Council.
The notification says that the money will be used for development of sports in the state. Further adding to the woes of the athletes, the notification says that from April 27, athletes who are employed in any department of the state government or associated government bodies will be accorded extraordinary leave without pay if they seek leave for participating in a professional game or commercial endorsement.
The circular said that in case the "sportsperson is treated on duty with 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 Haryana State Sports Council."
Two-time Olympic medal-winning wrestler, Sushil Kumar said: "This policy should be reviewed. The government should establish a committee of senior sportspersons and take their input before forming a policy of this type. This will affect the morale of sportspersons and might affect their performance as well."
Geeta Phogat has also criticised the decision saying that young athletes do not receive any support from the government when training. Most players do not receive any financial assistance from the government unless they represent the state or country, meaning most athletes are forced to spend their own money on training and equipment.
This is not the first instance of the state government landing in controversy for its policies towards sports. In April this year, a felicitation function for 22 medal-winning athletes from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was cancelled when they threatened to walk out over the government's proposal to take a cut of their prize money.
With inputs from ANI