Ministry seeks more details from AITA on payment row

Updated: Aug 23, 2010, 15:18 PM IST

New Delhi: The payment row which prompted
top tennis players to issue a Commonwealth Games boycott
threat is expected to take another fortnight to resolve as the
Sports Ministry on Monday sought more details of the expenses from
the All India Tennis Association to release the money.

AITA Secretary General Anil Khanna and Chairman of the
CWG preparations program Jaideep Mukherjea along with other
officials today met Rahul Bhatnagar, Joint Secretary
(International Sports Division) of the Sports Ministry and
discussed the long-pending issue.

Bhatnagar said AITA has provided some data but they need
more details about the expenses of all the five players --
Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman, Rohan Bopanna
and Sania Mirza.

"At least we had something to start with today. We have
got some details but we need more details from AITA which they
say they will give by this evening or tomorrow morning,"
Bhatnagar told reporters.

On being asked what those details were, Bhatnagar said,
"They have given us the details about the number of
tournaments participated by the players in the last two years
but we need a certificate which says that their air-fare and
hotel stay was not on sponsorship money or from Organisers
fund."

"AITA says it has not received all the bills from the
players but hopefully they`ll find out a way."

The men`s team had threatened to pull out of the Games if
their dues were not cleared. However, they confirmed their
participation after being assured that the matter would be
resolved.

Meanwhile, AITA issued a statement claiming that all the
issues have been resolved.

"All payment issues regarding elite players have been
resolved and with minimum documentation and the ministry has
agreed to process the papers at the earliest so that elite
players can receive their dues under the CWG preparations
within two-three weeks," a statement by Mukherjea said.

Bhatnagar said if AITA submits all details in time, money
can be released in another 15 days.

The ministry official said final entitlement of each
player can be known only after they have all the documents
with them.

He said the government will pay economy class air-fare as
per the Balmer Lawrie rates.

PTI

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