India’s premier wrestler Bajrang Punia’s coach Shako Bentinidis has been asked to take a 30 per cent pay cut in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought most sporting activities across the world to a halt.
Bentinidis flew out to his native Georgia in March and has been helping Bajrang through video calls. According to a report in The Tribune, Bentinidis earns Rs 5 lakh a month and has also been provided with an apartment in Sonepat on a monthly rent of Rs 25,000.
The report added that according the revised pay structure that Wrestling Federation of India have come up with, Bentinidis’s accommodation will be withdrawn and his salary will be slashed by Rs 1.5 lakh.
“I am okay with the decision but not happy about it.” Bentinidis was quoted as saying. “I understand that we all are facing a difficult period right now and such decisions need to be taken.”
Bentinidis faces a further reduction in his salary.
“He has a hefty salary. We have already told him about the pay cut but if things don’t improve and he can’t return to India, we will be forced to cut his salary further,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar said.
Meanwhile, Greco-Roman coach Temo Kazarashvili and women’s team coach Andrew Cook will be paid their salaries in full. They have been assisting with online coaching courses during the lockdown.
“Nobody asked me to do online training. I could have done it too. This is about respect and respect only. I don’t have any grouse with [sponsors] Tata or WFI but I don’t know how they would cut my salary further,” he said.
“My old father, my brother’s family and my sister’s family are all dependent on me. There are no jobs here [Georgia] too.”
Bentinidis added: “Bajrang is like my son, he is my brother and my friend and I have promised a big medal from him so I will do everything that is possible to achieve that. As far as my salary is concerned, we will talk with them (WFI), let’s see what happens.”