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Top players taken for a ride by Amateur Baseball Federation of India

India’s baseball players have circulated a video highlighting the mismanagement of the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) during the Indo-Pak series in Dubai from December 8 to 10.

other sports Updated: Dec 24, 2017 12:01 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Amateur Baseball Federation of India,Baseball,Indo-Pak series

The uproar over the School Games Federation of India’s mismanagement of the trip to Adelaide had barely died down when a similar fiasco involving the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) has come to light.

Close on the heels of teenage hockey players uploading videos of ill-treatment during the SGFI-orgainsed trip to Adelaide for the Pacific School Games, India’s baseball players have circulated a video highlighting the mismanagement of the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) during the Indo-Pak series in Dubai from December 8 to 10.

Delhi-based player Narinder Kumar told the Hindustan Times that, “The Dubai event turned out to be a farce. Despite paying money for the tour, we weren’t given adequate food or provided with water.” Almost all the players HT spoke to said that the event was a farce as it wasn’t recognised either by the Asian or the world body.

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All the 18 members paid Rs 55,000 each for the unrecognised bilateral series, involving three matches. But, Kumar said that only one match was played, which Pakistan won 11-2. “They were declared winners of the series,” he alleged.

“We were told it would be a good competition, which is why we opted for it,” said Kumar.

Uttarakhand’s Bhanu Sharma said the accommodation was substandard. “Four players were housed in one room. There were three beds and one player had to sleep on the floor,” he said.

On why he opted to play in an invitational tournament, Kumar, 24, said, “We thought it was an opportunity to add to our credentials… it would help us get jobs. We haven’t even been given certificates.”

ABFI secretary-general Sudhir Mohindru said the team had been given good hospitality. On why they chose to play Pakistan of all the teams, he said, “Pakistan is a better team… we wanted to play them to improve our standard,” he said.

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On the financial aspect, Mohindru said the federation hasn’t pocketed any money. “It’s the responsibility of the respective state association to generate funds and support the players. The federation doesn’t communicate with the players directly, but write to state units.”

Delhi unit secretary, PC Bhardwaj, confirmed that state bodies demand money from players. “Those who pay represent the country,” he said.

Strangely, while the newly-elected Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has refused any bilateral series with Pakistan, the ABFI broke the norm. Also, there were no questions asked by the sports ministry, which recognises ABFI, while clearing the trip.

Though recognised by the ministry, ABFI is not affiliated to the IOA. IOA secretary-general Rajiv Mehta said, “At the world level, baseball and softball come under one body, but in India it’s not the case. We will only give them affiliation if the two NSFs join hands,” he said.

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ABFI was in the news in January this year when each player was asked to shell out Rs 25,000 for the national camp to prepare for the West Asia Cup hosted by Pakistan. But the team couldn’t compete as the hosts refused them visa. The money was, however, not refunded to the players.

Mohindru said the money was spent in organising the camp. “The equipment is costly. Players were told the money was non refundable.” He added that as compensation for missing the West Asia Cup, the ABFI organised the bilateral series.

The ABFI regularly fields teams in invitational meets. In September, they charged R60,000 from each player to compete in a club-level competition in Malaysia. A club team from India also participated in the event, but each player paid only Rs 35,000.

First Published: Dec 24, 2017 11:03 IST