The Haryana State Government, facing severe criticism and anger, has put on halt the order, which asked the athletes employed with the State governments to share their professional earnings with the government.
An official notification was issued from the office of the Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Government of Haryana, Ashok Khemka. The order stated the sportspersons who work for the state government must hand over at least one-third of their earnings from participating in professional sports events or endorsements deals. The money will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council for the development of sports in the State, the order stated further.
The order had invoked severe criticism and backlash from some of the top athletes in the State, including Olympic medallists Yogeshwar Dutt, Sushil Chhetri and Sakshi Malik.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has subsequently put the order on a halt.
“I have asked for the relevant file of the sports department to be shown to me and the notification dated 30th April to be put on hold till further orders. We are proud of the immense contribution by our sportspersons and I assure them of a just consideration of all issues affecting them (sic),” Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar tweeted after the order provoked widespread outrage.
A big number of international athletes are employed with the Haryana State government or its affiliated departments. Star boxers Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar, wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat, cricketer Joginder Sharma, veteran hockey stars like Sardar Singh and Mamata Kharab are employed with the Haryana State Police department.
Babita Phogat, who won a silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, called the order disheartening. “This notification will hamper an athlete’s preparation. How can the government give such an order? We pay taxes over whatever we earn and now this notification to pay one-third,” she had told PTI. “Can the government understand how much sacrifice an athlete and his or families have to make to earn a medal for the country? The Haryana government should immediately take this order back and review it,” she added.