When money flows, smiles follow. The smiles from sports associations appear to drown in the pool of money that the Sports Authority of Goa has released in preparation for the 37th National Games to be hosted from October 25 – though it is to start unofficially a bit earlier – till November 7, 2023.
The wait was long and arduous, but, once money was disbursed, it appeared to be worth the wait.
Although not all associations are happy with the allocation, the truth is that money has left the office bearers of various associations walking with an extra bounce.
The reality is that the money disbursed is for the improvement of sportspersons so that it may help them excel during the National Games and thus gain laurels for the state. For that, SAG has devised some good schemes that should reach all players.
One of the financial patterns of assistance is if players are not staying in residential camps, each player has to receive a stipend of Rs 1000 per day for diet; Rs 650 per day for accommodation; and Rs 200 per day for transport.
That makes it a tidy Rs 1850 per day for each sportsperson till the end of respective competitions. In case, according to the pattern of assistance, players are called to attend a residential camp, the stipend is not given and the same is supposed to be judiciously spent by the respective associations.
Since there have been occasions in the past when players have not received their dues from the association and not SAG because the latter pays the money directly to the association, a system of electronic transfer directly to the account of each athlete has been started.
And, the problem begins here. It has been quite a few days since the money has been disbursed and just a few associations have started the process of, forget disbursing, collecting bank details from players that will be representing us.
With less than a month left for the games to start, it is expected that the players are now given their place of prominence because, at the end of the day, it is they who bring us glory.
Thirty days is too little time to expect much in terms of rewards, but the SAG could do little in terms of improving matters because they depend on the government for finance and the sports associations, on them.
Unfortunately, there are many associations that are upset about the manner SAG has gone about disbursing funds for training and equipment. There was a general cut of about fifty per cent on the proposals submitted by all associations.
In a few places, there appeared to be no discretion whilst allocating funds. This will be a subject to be touched upon once the games are over and not now.
Goa Football Association (GFA) has received the biggest sum. Luckily for them, they will be able to use the money to prepare the team not just for the National Games but for the qualifications of the Santosh Trophy that have begun, though the players are yet to be shortlisted.
A group of boys have been selected for the non-residential camp and inquiries have revealed that neither have bank details been obtained nor has any financial aid been distributed to the players attending the camp. Hopefully, the GFA will not skirt excuses.
Some sports associations have felt ignored by SAG or believe that they were not properly prioritised when making calculations. Hence, their inability to procure the best for their sportspeople.
The main problem is the overdependence on SAG by most associations – except cricket – for funds. Associations should have men at the top who are capable of raising their own resources or, in simple terms, professionals who know how to rope in sponsors.
If this were the case, there would not be a clamour to occupy the top slots or the greed to remain at the top irrespective of how the game is faring. For quite a few, running associations is a way of living or a way of getting societal recognition.