SAI asks foreign coaches to refrain from media interactions

The Sports Authority of India sent a letter to all foreign coaches working in India asking them to refrain from any media interactions or even informal talks without prior permission ‘from a competent authority’.

AFI officials were clueless about the letter and were, in fact, categorical that they would try and sort out the issue. [Representative image]   -  Getty Images

It seems the Sports Authority of India does not trust its foreign coaches enough. Perhaps that’s the reason it sent a letter to all foreign coaches working in India asking them to refrain from any media interactions or even informal talks without prior permission ‘from a competent authority’.

The letter, dated March 7 and signed by SAI’s Executive Director (TEAMS) Radhica Sreeman, also warns the coaches of being penalised in case of a violation with the penalty ranging from salary cut to even immediate termination of contract. It further states that the foreign coach, in that case, and his/her family would face ‘deportation at his/her own cost’.

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AFI officials here were clueless about the letter and were, in fact, categorical that they would try and sort out the issue. “Such competitions are the only time media can interact with coaches and as long as they stick to their brief, we don’t see any problems. It makes things tough for us also because we will have to write and get permission every time. We need to see the letter before commenting,” senior officials insisted.

On their part, the foreign coaches are upset at what they see is an unfair blanket ban without clarity. “Who is a competent authority? Is it the DG? Or someone else? Should we personally seek permission every time or through the respective federations? There is no mention in the letter. Also, we are all professionals. We agree we should not comment on the system or other things because that is not our domain. But the sport and its athletes are,” several coaches said.

Radhica could not be reached for comments despite several attempts.