NSFs to have a major say in picking foreign coaches

Sports Authority of India abolishes the tripartite contract system, makes it compulsory for foreign coaches to train Indian coaches.

Park Tae Sang, coach of shuttler P. V. Sindhu (right). Foreign coaches will have to train at least five Indian coaches, as per the guidelines. - V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has abolished the process of screening of prospective foreign coaches through a comprehensive committee and introduced a bipartite contract system.

With these changes, the national sports federations will have a major say in hiring foreign coaches.

As per the revised guidelines on hiring foreign coaches or experts, the NSFs cannot spend more than 30 percent of their Annual Calendar of Training and Competition (ACTC) budget on the salary of recruits. The foreign coach will have to train at least five Indian coaches. The clause to groom Indian coaches was present in the previous guidelines, too, but a specific number has been added now.

The contract between the NSF and the coach will be a bipartite one, with SAI ending the tripartite contract system in which the selected coach, the nodal sports body and the federation were required to sign on the dotted line. SAI has already asked 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.

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“We had ease of business in mind when we thought of this step. We also wanted to empower the sports federations by implementing it. 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,” a top SAI source, part of the TOPS, told PTI.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) had hired South Korea’s Park Tae Sang to train two-time Olympic medallist P. V. 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.

‘Welcome move’

Hockey India (HI) also felt that the federations had 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.

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Asked about training the Indian coaches, the 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.”

BAI's Mishra said, “This is a good decision because it will help Indian sports in the long run. For example, if Park (Tae Sang) is training Sindhu, we can have three-four coaches tagging along with him, so that they can also learn from his expertise and experience. It can only make us more self sufficient.”

As per the revised guidelines, the “expenditure on foreign coaches or experts would be met from within the approved ACTC budget for the NSF. However, the total expenditure on foreign coaches or experts shall not be more than 30 percent of total approved ACTC budget of the NSF.”

“This has been done to ensure that only a justified amount is spent on hiring foreign coaches. We are not saying that there is a cap on coaches’ salary but NSFs have to be judicious in spending funds. They have to take care of travel, national camp and competitions also. We don't want that they spend all the funds on their salary, so this 30 per cent cap has been introduced,” the official explained.

‘Atmanirbharta’

The new guidelines also allow NSFs “to hire coaches and experts on short term basis as required. Each foreign coach/expert will also train five Indian coaches/experts to make them proficient in coaching or other fields as relevant in order to achieve self-reliance (Atmanirbharta),” the guidelines stated.

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“The foreign coach/expert would need to submit a quarterly report on the progress and achievement of KRAs to the NSF with a copy to SAI in order to make an objective assessment of his/her performance.”

The hired coaches will get furnished accommodation at SAI centres and at places where SAI centres are not there, accommodation shall be provided by the NSFs. “A maximum sum of ₹75,000 for ‘A’ Class cities and ₹50,000 for others will be reimbursed by SAI per month,” read the guidelines.

The hired coach and his family will also be provided a medical insurance of up to ₹5 lakh while accidental/death coverage will be of ₹10 lakh.

Germany’s Dr. Bartoneiz Klaus trains Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra while American Scott Simmons trains India’s middle and long distance runners. Thomas Farnik is India's rifle shooting coach while Lauryn Mark is high performance manager for shotgun. For trap shooting, Russell Mark is attached with the contingent while Juan Guha is the coach for skeet shooting.

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