New Delhi: Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday put itself on collision course with Hockey India after it issued a clear instruction to HI's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans and chief coach Terry Walsh to scrap their contracts with respective HIL franchises.
SAI minced no words in stating that the duo could lose their salaries for the duration of the second edition of Hockey India League (HIL), commencing January 25 in Mohali, if they continued their association with the high-profile FIH-sanctioned event.
SAI said the contracts of both the foreign coaches, who are drawing salaries from it, do not permit them to take coaching assignments with any "commercial league".
"They are employed by SAI and we are paying them their monthly salaries. How could they take up some other assignment with a commercial league when their contracts do not allow them from taking up any other job? It's not professionalism. It's unethical," SAI secretary Neeraj Kansal told PTI.
"They have been hired by SAI for a full-time role and they are not allowed to participate in these types of leagues. We have an option of discontinuing their salaries for that particular period when they are engaged with HIL franchises.
"It is simple, if they don't disassociate themselves from their franchises they can't take salary from us for the period of their HIL engagement. But that's the last option," he informed.
Walsh and Oltmans are employed with the SAI and draw USD 12,500 (Rs 7.73 lakh) and USD 15,000 (Rs 9.28 lakh) every month.
Walsh has been working with Kalinga Lancers as the chief coach while Oltmans is associated with Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
Asked if both stand to lose their contracts with the SAI if they continue coaching their franchises, Kansal only replied: "Let's see. We will look at it."
Kansal said that the two highly-rated coaches could help the SAI coaches with their vast knowledge of the game by teaching under the 'Coach Development Programme' at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala during that period.
"You should be teaching our coaches at NIS Patiala rather than taking up a job with private entity. You can't be paid for both."
On HI's contention that the contract says the coaches are allowed to coach in the FIH-sanctioned event, Kansal said, "It's a commercial league where you are not representing your country."
When contacted Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra on the issue, he simply said: "We have all the permissions from SAI."