Govt approves money for tennis players, says matter is closed

The payment row that threatened to derail India`s tennis campaign in the upcoming Commonwealth Games was resolved with the government approving Rs one crore for five elite players.

Last Updated: Sep 11, 2010, 15:21 PM IST

New Delhi: The payment row that threatened
to derail India`s tennis campaign in the upcoming Commonwealth
Games was resolved today with the government approving Rs one
crore for five elite players.

The elite men`s players -- Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi,
Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvarman -- had threatened to pull
out of the Games if there dues, in the last two years, were
not cleared.

The Sports Ministry had accused the All India Tennis
Association for delay in payment, saying it had not received
players` bills from the AITA for clearance.

Rahul Bhatnagar, Joint Secretary (International Sports
Division) of Sports Ministry today announced the government
has approved the money to be released to the players.

"The government has sanctioned Rs one crore and the
players will get this money within the next week. Leander Paes
will get Rs 19.26 lakh, Mahesh Bhupathi 19.62 lakh, Rohan
Bopanna 18.33 lakh, Somdev Devvarman 25.88 lakh and Sania
Mirza Rs 17.52 lakh," Bhatnagar said at a press conference
here.

"As far as ministry is concerned, the matter is over
now," he added.

As per the government scheme for the players`
preparations for the Games, they were entitled to an allowance
of USD 115 per day for 75 days in a year for training and
competitions abroad.

Accordingly, the players were entitled to USD 17,250 each
excluding the air-fare for travelling.

The money that has been approved includes the economy
class air-fares but Bhatnagar did not reveal the number of
tournaments for which the players have been given the
air-fare.

AITA had asked for air-fare for at least 11 tournaments
in year.

The elite players were unhappy that they were not getting
any benefit out of the government`s scheme.

The AITA had first denied and then confirmed the threat
by the players.

After getting an assurance from the Sports Ministry, the
players had then issued a joint statement that they will be
available for the upcoming Davis Cup and the Commonwealth
Games.

PTI