In a groundbreaking step, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has unveiled a new model of financial governance that will not only benefit the shuttlers but also bring transparency to the system.
On Friday, the Association announced a three-year sponsorship contract worth Rs 7.5 crore with Premier Brands.
"We have made a four-member committee comprising Prakash Padukone, Pullela Gopi Chand, Dinesh Khanna and Ami Ghia Shah along with a representative from the Premier Brands to administer the money received," said BAI president V.K. Verma. "They will select the 16 members of the team who will benefit from the deal. The results will be announced by May-end," he said.
The amount will be divided into three parts, which will be utilised over the next three years. While the deal translates into more money for players apart from the usual match fee and prize money based on their performances, a part of it will also go towards raising the prize money of the domestic tournaments and upgrading the facilities provided to the players on the national circuit.
With this, Premier Brands have also become the official title sponsor of the national team and also gained the rights to be featured on the team jersey at the Asian Badminton Championship to be held in the Capital from April 12-18 as a precursor to the 2010 Games.
Explaining the advantages of the contract system, Verma said, "The sponsorship money would go directly to the players and BAI will not use any of it for its administrative costs. We are presenting a model financial governance that will set the highest standard of transparency in sports administration."
Saina Nehwal, the ace Indian shuttler, who was here along with the Thomas Cup team —due to depart on Friday — said it was a step forward though she had reservations, "If a player is benefitting from the deal, nothing like it. But what remains to be seen is how these players utilise the money."
Chetan Anand, the top male shuttler, said players would gain directly from the deal, "Though we are yet to see the impact, I believe it's a huge step. It will motivate players to perform."