Khattar retracts order on levy on sportspersons

Khattar retracts order on levy on sportspersons

Haryana retracted an order that demanded that Haryana sportspersons employed with the government have to deposit one-third of their earnings from commercial endorsements and through professional sports with the state government.

The outlandish order has come under criticism from various quarters, including olympians from and Common Wealth Games (CWG) medalists.

Even the BJP MP from Haryana and Union minister Birender Singh condemned the decision maintaining that the move is tantamount to "putting straps around them (sportspersons)".

The notification comes as a setback for a state that flaunts its sporting credentials, with sportspersons from the state being the country's top medalwinners.

After the controversy erupted on Friday morning, Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar put the notification on hold.

Many acclaimed sportspersons are employed with the government, including olympian boxers Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar, Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh and acclaimed wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat.

The government says the money will be used for the development of sports in the state.

The notification (a copy of which is with DH) also states that if the sportsperson is on duty while participating in professional sports or commercial endorsements, the full income earned will be deposited with the government.

Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt took to Twitter saying,"God save us. Since the time such officials have joined the sports department, they have been issuing baseless, Tughlaqi farmaan (diktat). Their contribution towards the growth of sports in Haryana is zero but I claim they are 100 percent succeeding in its decline".

Olympian Sushil Kumar too has criticised the decision. Haryana wrestler Geeta Phogat maintained that it was still understandable if such rules applied to cricketers as they earn a lot from endorsements.

In sports such as wrestling, kabadi and boxing, it is different and Haryana’s decision is disappointing, she said.

A few weeks ago, the state government had to cancel a mega ceremony that was organised to facilitate CWG medal winners from the state after several athletes threatened a boycott protesting the new sports policy that attempted to eat into their prize money.