SAI asks TOPS athletes to submit bills and furnish Utilisation Certificates by January 31
The deadline was set by SAI's Mission Olympic Cell, which decided in a recent meeting as more than Rs 7 crore, given to the athletes under the TOPS since 2014, is still unaccounted for.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has asked close to 150 athletes, who received funds under TOP Scheme, to submit bills and furnish Utilisation Certificates (UCs) by January 31, failing which their funding will be stopped.
The deadline was set by SAI's Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), which took the decision in a recent meeting as more than Rs 7 crore, given to the athletes under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) since 2014, is still unaccounted for.
According to an SAI source, there are many prominent names among the athletes who are yet to furnish their bills. "This step was necessary as many top athletes are yet to submit their bills. The money belongs to the taxpayers and the athletes are bound to furnish details about how they have utilised it," an SAI source told PTI.
"The MOC has asked all those athletes who have not submitted their bills and UCs to do the same before January 31. If they fail to do so future financial assistance from TOPS may be stopped. There are even some athletes who were part of Rio Olympics and have retired now. Despite repeated reminders through respective National Sports Federations (NSFs), they have not submitted their bills, which is unethical," the source added.
The official, however, did not disclose the name of the athletes. The Sports Ministry started the TOPS program in 2014 and is aimed at providing financial assistance to India's top athletes in their preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics.
The scheme provides for requisite support to probable athletes, including foreign training, international competition, equipment and coaching camp beside a monthly stipend of Rs 50,000.
The scheme currently supports 104 TOPS Core Group athletes across 13 sports disciplines apart from hockey teams (both men and women) and 269 Development Group athletes across 12 sports disciplines.