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‘Pay cut must be individual choice’

sports Updated: Apr 14, 2009 22:49 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times
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Bhaichung Bhutia looks at pay cuts as a decision left to individuals and not institutions. As the season draws to a close, Bhutia said he has heard a lot of ‘talk’ about the possibility of less take-home pay but unless the player complains, it is all right.

“These decisions can’t be generalised and no one should be forced into accepting less salary. But if a player is okay with a pay-cut and thinks that’s the best scenario for him, why should anybody have a problem? What is important is that they shouldn’t be misled or misguided by the clubs,” Bhutia told HT from New Delhi on Tuesday.

Therefore, it is unlikely that the Football Players Association of India (FPAI), of which he is the president, will take a stand on this. “If a player feels he has been cheated, he can write to us and we will take up his case. They know where to go for right advice,” Bhutia said.

Recently, East Bengal midfielder Alvito D’Cunha told the media that he wouldn’t mind a pay cut in this time of recession.

Ending a season without silverware for the first time in 30 years, D’Cunha even suggested his teammates do likewise provoking criticism from players past and present.

Asked whether he would take a pay cut, Bhutia simply said: “My relationship with Mohun Bagan continues to be very good and after what has been my best season with the club, I am looking forward to another one with them.”

One day after the FPAI organised a seminar on players’ contracts here, Bhutia said he hoped the initiative would help spread awareness. “As a starting point, we hope the footballers we spoke to on Monday would spread the word.”

The FPAI is an associate member of FIFPro, the world football players’ body, and at the seminar, footballers were briefed on their rights by lawyer U.N. Banerjee who is FPAI’s representative in FIFPro’s legal cell. Banerjee has been a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) assistant-secretary and legal advisor to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The FPAI is also pushing for a model player’s contract and though lack of time may mean Bhutia won’t meet All India Football Federation (AIFF) officials this time, he said “the AIFF has been extremely cooperative with us.”

Referee irritation

Like against Dempo on Sunday, this I-League has seen Bhutia having more conversations with referees than before. “I am not irritated by anything on a football field except bad supervision. You can take only that much and no more,” he said. In their last match, Bhutia had a goal disallowed and Dempo coach Armando Colaco accepted they were lucky to finish with 11 players.