Indore: In a clear manifestation of the apathy meted out to non-cricketing sport in the country, around a dozen football players, who have represented the state and the national team in the past, have been forced to clean chairs at Holkar cricket stadium – the venue of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled for May 13 and 15 - to earn their living.

On one hand where most of the cricket players earn in millions as they adorn a demi-god status, other sportsmen are forced to live a rather anonymous life, many at times even struggling to arrange even two squares of meals a day.

Sanjay Nidan, who runs Anand Football Club in Indore, represented the country in 1998 and has won several trophies too. But today with his 12 players and other members of the club, Sanjay is cleaning and washing the chairs and pavilion of the stadium.

According to Sanjay, Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) gives Rs 2.5 per chair for cleaning them. Apart from Sanjay, seven other football players who have played with him at the state and national level have joined him in the cleaning drive.
However, the MPCA feigned ignorance over the stark reality.

“We have given the cleaning contract to a local agency. It is difficult to track who all have been employed by the agency for the job,” MPCA CEO Rohit Pandit said.

JPN/Bureau