The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soccer prize no match for cricket

New Delhi, Aug. 30: India’s footballers have earned less by winning the Nehru Cup than what the cricketers will pocket simply by playing tonight’s ODI against England, even if they lose.

Bhaichung Bhutia’s Boys in Blue, who turned around a five-decade history of defeats, have each been paid Rs 1.12 lakh by the federation for their four wins in five matches. Rahul Dravid’s Men in Blue earned Rs 1.6 lakh in match fees just by turning up at Old Trafford.

India’s footballers are not paid match fees. All India Football Federation presi- dent Priya Ranjan Das Munshi announced incentives before every match in the tournament, barring the opener, and paid the players in cash immediately after the game.

The team won Rs 5 lakh for beating Bangladesh, Rs 7.5 lakh against Kyrgyzstan and Rs 10 lakh in the final. The total of Rs 22.5 lakh was divided among the 20 players. If a Rs 5-lakh reward announced by the Delhi chief minister is counted, each player got Rs 1.37 lakh.

“This is too good,” goalkeeper Sandeep Nandy said. “Never before did we receive such incentives playing for India.”

A Rs 1-crore bonus for winning the England Test series put Rs 5.26 lakh in each cricketer’s pocket. Add the Rs 2.5-lakh match fee for each of the three Tests and the Rs 3-lakh tour allowance, and the players earned Rs 15.76 lakh. Over and above, of course, their Rs 20-50 lakh retainer contracts.

The footballers have been promised that the $40,000 (Rs 16.4-lakh) prize money would be doubled and distributed among them. Even that will raise their earnings to just about Rs 3 lakh.

The cricket board shares 13 per cent of its annual profits with Team India — a payment that would come to Rs 31.2 crore this year.

In the ad stakes, India’s lone soccer star, Bhaichung, does two or three endorsements a year for about Rs 50 lakh each. Sachin, Dravid or Sourav do five or six, each for Rs 2-3 crore.

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