Millennium Post

SAI empowers NSFs, gives them major say in picking foreign coaches

New Delhi: The national sports federations will have a major say in hiring foreign coaches from now on as the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has abolished the process of screening of candidates through a comprehensive committee and introduced a bipartite contract system.

As per the revised guidelines on hiring foreign coaches/experts, the NSFs can't spend more than 30 percent of their Annual Calendar of Training and Competition (ACTC) budget on the salary of recruits.

The foreign coach will also have to train at least five Indian coaches, according to the fresh guidelines, a copy of which is with the PTI.

The clause to groom Indian coaches was there in the previous guidelines, too, but a specific number has been added now.

From now on, it will be a bipartite contract between the NSF and the coach with the SAI ending the tripartite contract system, where the selected coach, the nodal sports body and the federation were required to sign on the dotted line.

The SAI has already told the federations to convert the existing tripartite contracts into a bipartite arrangement by June 30. Earlier, the proposal prepared by the NSF to hire a foreign coach was evaluated by a committee that included the joint secretary (sports), a member of the sports ministry who was an expert in finance, two sport-specific experts and a representative of the federation concerned.

But as per the new guidelines, the sports federation will constitute a selection committee which will have just one SAI member, who will ensure that due diligence is exercised while selecting a candidate.

"We had ease of business in mind when we thought of this step. We also wanted to empower the sports federations by implementing it," a top SAI source, part of the TOPS, told PTI. "We had a lot of presentations on the subject and it was agreed that we should have a system where it does not take more than 10 days to hire a foreign coach," added the source.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had hired South Korea's Park Tae Sang to train two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu while Mathias Boe of Denmark coaches the country's doubles teams.

"It is a step in the right direction. It is always better if federations decide on foreign coaches as they have better idea about the sport and the requirements. At the same time, the onus will be on the NSFs to ensure that the coaches deliver the results," Sanjay Mishra, BAI secretary, told PTI.

The senior men's hockey team has Graham Reid (Australia) as the chief coach while Greg Clarke (South Africa) is the analytical coach. The women's team is being guided by Janneke Schopman (Holland) while Patrick Tshutshani (South Africa) is its analytical coach.

The junior women's hockey team is being coached by Erik Wonink. Hockey India also felt that the federations have to act more responsibly.

"It is a welcome move. It will give more power to the federations. But a SAI observer will always be there to monitor and review the performances and in selection of coaches as they will continue to be the paymaster," said an HI official, who did not wish to be named.

Asked about training the Indian coaches, the HI official said, "The likes of Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandekar have been been groomed under foreign coaches. Now, just a specific number has been put, so, this is not something new."

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