CK Vineeth, a South Indian Footballer, who plays for Kerala Blaster in ISL and for Bengaluru FC in I-League was in news last month for two reasons. One, he was sacked from the office of Accountant General for his “low attendance” where he worked as Auditor in the probationary period. And two, in the recently held Federation Cup final (a knockout football tournament in India) in Orissa between Bengaluru FC and Mohan Began, Vineet had an upper hand in the winning of the Cup for his club as he scored two precious goals in the extra-time.
Now the question lies whether a person who gets a job on sports quota in a Government based company should have the privilege to retain his job when his performance as a sportsman is soaring high though he may or may not fulfil some of the Standing Order Instructions of the company?
We need to go in the flashback in the Policy of the then Government in 1986 when the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports chalked out Objectives to bring in some kind of reforms for the welfare of sportsmen and women. It was then decided that the Public Sector Undertakings or (PSUs) should take necessary measures for the promotion of sports in order to recognise the talents. They should device mechanism to spot young players, take proper steps to nurture them and also make arrangements to provide employment opportunities for their economic security.
I feel that is why Government Companies were meant to support the cause of upliftment of such section of society. However, over the years, it is seen that these organisations have transformed from so-called “Social Reform Organization” to “Profit Making Organization” where in the interest to make more ROI forms a top most priority than to focus on the welfare of society. Employees are required to give 100% of their efforts in ensuring that their company grows many fold times but the focus on other objectives for their existence which was once considered important is slowly and slowly falling down. Some employees who got employed in such companies on sports quota said that the incentive programs for them have gradually come down. Even to represent in tournaments for any event outside their working premise, no provision for special leaves are given to them. In order to participate in such tournaments, they have to utilise their personal leave balance and in case of any deficit in leaves, it will get adjusted from their salaries. Certainly, their morale is all time low.
As once told by one former Indian International Football player who is currently employed in one of a PSU in Bangalore: “we want to play for the country, however, our family, financial condition are also required to be taken care of. We can`t play without no money in our pockets as we have to earn our livelihoods. Once government assures us a secure job, we would be able to give our best to the game we play,” this makes sense.
Football and other sports, unlike Cricket, do not make a huge impact in India. Sponsorship and Investment are pretty difficult to attract for the events like I-league. Possibilities of unemployment for them will hover now and then.
Vineet grew up in a small village of Kannur in Kerala and his father is a school teacher and mother a homemaker. He turned a deaf ear to the news of his sacking and said that he will continue playing professional football irrespective of the decision. Truly said, actions speak louder than voices – Vineet`s performance in the Federation Cup has justified his worthiness to his club and country.
Hopefully, the existing political system will take note of the plight of the footballer and do something positive to restore faith among the sports fraternity.