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The monthly salary of India's new national football coach is unlikely to be raised beyond $25,000 unless the government steps in to help the All India Football Federation (AIFF) through its Annual Calendar for Competition and Training (ACTC) Programme.
An almost similar amount was the last pay drawn by the previous coach, Stephen Constantine, whose three-year contract ended with the Asian Cup in January. It included the income tax, which was also paid by the federation. The AIFF is currently in the process of appointing a new foreign coach.
"Some top names like Raymond Domenech and (Sven-Goran) Eriksson have applied for the job...that's very encouraging. But the question is, can we really afford them? Their salary demands may run into millions of dollars. We have modest resources," said Kushal Das, the AIFF General Secretary.
"Top coaches do not come cheap. They demand big salaries. We have asked for government's help through the SAI's (Sports Authority of India) ACTC Programme," added Das.
The problem is the ACTC, in all probability, will be finalised only after the general elections are over and a new government is in place. But the AIFF must appoint the coach by the first week of next month. The national camp for the King's Cup in June should start by middle of May. In that case, the federation may have to appoint the coach on the basis of its own resources.
Another official in the federation felt it won't be an easy task to convince the government over increase in financial help. While the government grant for the AIFF through the ACTC Programme last time was around Rs 23 crore, the federation, this time, has given proposals, which may cost close to Rs 40 crore.
"The foreign coach's salary could be an issue if the federation requests the government to share a part of the financial burden. There are certain government criteria the coach could find it hard to meet," the official said.
While paying the salary of a foreign coach of an NSF (National Sports Federation), which generally ranges from $8,000 to $15,000, the government expects the coach to remain involved in camps and other developmental activities for around nine months in a year. In football, however, the national coach may not get such an opportunity since the footballers remain mostly busy playing for their respective clubs throughout the season.
From more than 250 applicants for the national coach's job, the federation has pruned it down to around two dozen coaches. After further scrutinising, eight to 10 coaches could be interviewed through long-distance calls and finally, a couple of them may be called to Delhi for personal interviews.