Sports Council playing with careers of professionals

It is commercialism vs professionalism
*SFA, SCA san coaches, trainers

Rajesh Dhar

JAMMU, May 25: Notwithstanding the tall promises made by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir that sports is being promoted in every nook and corner of the Union Territory, its elitist Sports Organisation-J&K Sports Council is playing with the careers of hundreds of professionals and one observes that commercialism overwhelms professionalism in the scheme of things of Council.
According to reliable sources, a big number of trained and skilled unemployed coaches in various disciplines of sports have been receiving a squint-eyed treatment from the Council as far as their appointment and accommodation is concerned.
“It is not in the present scheme of things only. The unemployed coaches, trainers have been receiving an indifferent treatment from the word go. The situation has remained same from almost a decade now,” sources said.
Sources further said that as many as 207 coaches and trainers were engaged by J&K Sports Council, way back, in 2017 and after being paid salary for one year up to August 2018, they are no more in the picture.
On the one hand, these coaches claim that they have been performing their duties regularly, but their salary have been stopped since August 2018, however, on the other hand, the Council authorities hardly consider them as their employees.
“We were engaged by the Sports Council, headed by the then Secretary Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra in 2017. We were engaged as community coaches and were paid only for one year. When we brought the matter to the higher authorities, they assured us that our services will be extended for next two years without any hindrance as the funds for their salary were already available with the department. We were told to be calm, so we were performing duties till the beginning of lockdown. We are waiting in the wings for our extension,” said the quartet of aspirants namely Sunil Singh, Ravinder Singh, Rajesh Singh and Ashutosh Khajuria while expressing their woes.
“You can expect any dam thing from the authorities, who have stopped salary of the coaches, having the honour of being coaches of Olympians like Sakshi Malik and likes. They are interested in raising infra for commercial interests and least bothered in engaging professionals,” they maintained.
Sources further said that Sports Council vide Order No: 453 of 2019 dated 10-07-2019 engaged 20 prominent professionals as sports attendants and physiotherapists as support staff for running the affairs of State Cricket Academy (SCA) smoothly and successfully, adding that the Order was kept in abeyance for some unknown reasons.
“The State Government’s initiative of establishing Football and Cricket Academies through J&K State Sports Council was a big step towards producing International stuff in these sports disciplines. However, these academies needed good number of coaches, trainers and even physiotherapists to flourish and also make the players to blossom,” said one of the aspirants on the condition of anonymity.
He said the purpose of creating State Football Academy (SFA) and State Cricket Academy by J&K State Sports Council was to strengthen grass-root level sports structure in Jammu and Kashmir, but the absence of good number of professionals in these Academies, defeats the purpose of constituting such Academies.
“In absence of proper supporting staff, only a magic wand can help the heads of these academies to produce quality stuff. The heads can make their experience to count in administration and management, but it is the coaches and the trainers, who can hone, fine-tune the skills of the players at grass-root level. Mehraj-ud-Din Wadoo in SFA and Abid Nabi in SCA are not enough. There is a dire need to appoint more professionals for better results of these Academies,” said an experienced coach while expressing anonymity.
Some people blame that these Academies have been reduced to organizing bodies rather than the training centres for what they were meant for.
According to reliable sources, due to lack of coaching staff, SFA and SCA from a big number of trainees in their centres, have been reduced to quite a smaller number.
“Under the Lieutenant Governor’s Administration, the UT Government is striving hard to carve a space on the country’s sports map. In this context, funds are being pumped into all the sporting projects for better results. However, the results are not so satisfactory, because the system lacks comprehensiveness, professionalism. To make these projects result oriented and utterly professional, the need is to appoint experts,” sources added.
What sounds ridiculous is the fact that after engaging 20 sportspersons of great repute for better functioning of the State Cricket Academy, the Order has been kept in abeyance.
“The hopes of the trained professionals, who were making plans to produce International stuff from the Union Territory, dashed to ground after their Order was kept in abeyance. These professionals included First Class cricketers, highly educated trainers and BCCI acclaimed physiotherapists,” said a source within Sports Council.
The Government target of giving impetus to sports activities in the Union Territory and channelizing youth in positive direction, will only be fulfilled by establishing more Sports Academies and appointing sufficient supporting staff in them.
Otherwise, establishing academies in absence of requisite staff and expecting miracles is to cry for the moon.