One month into job, India's first foreign coach for women boxers resigns over non-payment of dues
By Poonam Mehra New Delhi, Sep 14 (PTI): India's first ever foreign coach for women boxers -- Stephane Cottalorda -- has resigned within a month of taking over, complaining of delay in salary payment and lack of professionalism in the national federation.
The 41-year-old Frenchman, who took over in August, e-mailed his resignation to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), saying that he could no longer wait for the fulfillment of promises made to him. "I think I have been patient enough, it's been a week since I returned to France. None of you would take the risk of crossing the earth with his family by not having any guarantee on his future. None of you would agree to work without wage guarantee and/or with delays," Cottalorda wrote in a strongly-worded resignation, a copy of which is with PTI.
Cottalorda alleged that he repeatedly communicated his concerns to the federation, which did not act on them. "Despite my e-mails and requests, I note that I still have not received all my salary for the month of August. In addition, I have no accommodation or any guarantee concerning this one as well as the payment of the expenses," he added. "For all these reasons, which testify to a lack of professionalism and seriousness, I would not return to India anymore. Nevertheless, I wish you good results at the Asian championships."
The federation, on its part, said most of Cottalorda's demands have been met and they would try and persuade him to come back. Ironically, his initial arrival itself was delayed by over a month owing to some procedural issues. "70 per cent of his salary has already been paid, his house agreement has been worked out. We have met most of his demands and we will try to talk him into taking back his decision," a top BFI official told PTI. "The problem lay in the delay in getting a PAN card for him, which in turn delayed the payments. We tried explaining to him that it was a procedural issue but he was not accustomed to such delays," the official added.
Besides being an experienced coach for women boxers in France, which earned him a three-star rating from the International Boxing Association, Cottalorda has also been a certified coach in the AIBA Pro-Boxing and the World Series of Boxing.
When asked if he would be open to reconsidering his decision, Cottalorda said, "I do not have any confidence in the system. I must do what is best for my family." Cottalorda, who is a member of the European Boxing Confederation's (EUBC) Coaches Commission, said the federation is yet to even reimburse the money he spent from his own pocket during his month-long stay in India. He had travelled with the Indian women's team for a training trip to Ireland last month.
Cottalorda had decided to head back to France at the conclusion of the trip as he was unhappy with the delay in the disbursement of his salary. "I do not have any official documents concerning my social security coverage and my coverage in the event of an accident. Finally, despite the sending of proofs, I still have not been reimbursed the various expenses that I had to do to join India. "In my last mail I explained that the resolution of these problems would condition my return to India," he said. "I might come to India during the youth world championships in Guwahati, but with the French team," he said from Nice.
His resignation comes as a blow to the women's team, which is gearing up for the Asian Championships in November in Vietnam. "Everybody tells me it is the Indian system. But in Europe if you have a job, you are paid for it. If you don't get results, the contract is stopped," he said.