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No salary cap for Indian coaches: Sports ministry

Sports Lounge Staff

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New Delhi: The Sports Ministry on Saturday removed the Rs 2 lakh cap on the salary given to Indian coaches for training elite athletes in a bid to encourage them to produce better results.

The move is also aimed at attracting former players to become high performance trainers.

The announcement came after the ministry’s decision to extend the contracts of all foreign coaches till September 30 next year.

“Several Indian coaches are showing very good results and need to be rewarded for their hard work. The government is also keen to attract the best coaching talent from across the country to train elite athletes and we do not want the cap on compensation to be a deterrent for good coaches to join,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said in a release.

The ministry release said the increased remuneration and longer contract period “is to attract ex-elite athletes into the high performance sporting ecosystem, and to use their experience and skill to train athletes bound for major international competitions, including the Olympics”.

The future hiring — both Indian and foreign — will be for a four-year cycle in sync with the Olympics to ensure continuity.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) welcomed the move, saying it will encourage domestic coaches to produce better results as they have been put on par with their foreign counterparts.

“IOA and National Sports Federations wholeheartedly appreciate the decision of the Sports Ministry to remove salary cap of domestic coaches. The cap was limiting our coaches who have been producing high-performance international medallists,” IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said.

“This decision is also encouraging for more sportspersons to choose coaching as a profession now. With new steps to improve the coaching education, domestic coaches would be on par with international coaches in the future.”

The ministry said eminent coaches already working in various Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) would also be allowed to join on deputation and be eligible for the 4-year contract as well as the higher salary structure.

The remuneration will be decided on the basis of their performance as an athlete as well as his or her success as a coach.

“All new coaches and existing coaches who are given the new contract will be imparting training at National Camps and SAI’s National Center of Excellence (NCOEs), and will be selected jointly by the Sports Ministry and the National Sports Federations,” a ministry release said.

Welcoming the move, chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand said: “This is a long standing request of the sporting fraternity. I am very happy with the decision because it will give a great boost to the overall sporting ecosystem by attracting many talented coaches and eminent ex-athletes to join the profession.”

The Sports Ministry will also resume grassroot-level talent scouting with an eye on 2028 Olympics when the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic improves.

The elite Indian coaches/ex athletes, including those from the PSUs and leading sports promotion boards will be part of the Talent Scouting Committee which will be touring various parts of the country to scout raw talent in the age group of 10-15 years.

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