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Goa sports minister cancels Brazil junket

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Panaji, June 13 :

Goa Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar Friday snubbed Arjuna award winner and former Indian football captain Bruno Coutinho, even as an “embarrassed” Goa government formally cancelled the much-criticised Rs.89 lakh Brazil World Cup junket for six ruling party legislators.

fifa world cup 2014In a press conference at the state secretariat, Tawadkar slighted Coutinho claiming he was only an “employee” of the sports mininstry and his word did not carry much weight.

“There are so many Arjuna award winners in the states across India. Does this mean those states also send them (Arjuna award winners) abroad for such trips,” Tawadkar asked.

“Coutinho is only an employee. The government makes the decision about who can go and who cannot,” Tawadkar said.

Coutinho, now a joint director (training) with the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG), has been vocal about him being left out of the Brazil visit, despite being included in first list.

The original list was later vetted by the sports minister and the chief minister’s office after which, the names of six ruling MLAs including three ministers were finalised.

Tawadkar said the junket had been formally cancelled by the government late Friday. “The decision was taken keeping in mind the public sentiment,” he said.

The comments come some hours after Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar slammed Bharat Ratna awardee and international cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, while justifying his decision to allow the fully funded all-politician junket to Brazil ostensibly to study “traffic management”.

“Sachin Tendulkar is a good player, but he could not become a good captain. Organisation is a different ball game,” Parrikar had said.

Parrikar claims that ministers can be given responsibility for organising mega sporting events and not players “because no one would listen to them”.

The junket, which has been criticised by civil society and the Opposition, has been extensively reported on.

(IANS)