CWG tennis row: Sports Ministry on damage control

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Delhi CWG 2010
New Delhi, Aug 21: As India's participation in the debut tennis tournament at Delhi Commonwealth Games is being threatened by a likely revolt by the players, the sports ministry has quickly stepped into damage control mode.

After men's tennis players threatened to boycott the Commonwealth Games 2010 if the clearance of their dues was delayed any further, the Sports Ministry on Saturday, Aug 21 said that it will clear the dues even on receiving the minimum documentation from All India Tennis Association (AITA).

Rahul Bhatnagar, Joint Secretary, International Sports Division of the Ministry, has said that the authorities are now ready to pay the players the money even without original bills if AITA certifies the players' expenditures.

"We want to give money to these elite players but how can we give them if we do not have documents which show that they have spent money," Bhatnagar said.

"All we want is a certificate from AITA, signed by their charted accountant that players have spent money. We will not ask for original bills but there has to be some proof that they money has been spent," he said, adding that there was no delay on the Sports Ministry's part and held AITA responsible for the situation.

Even though ace players like Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna had threatened to withdraw from the CWG 2010, which is scheduled to kick start in Oct, they on Saturday, Aug 21 signed a statement assuring that they will participate in the Games.

However, with the real picture out in the open, the country is now waiting to see some action from the authorities.

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