Former Olympic and World champion Taufik Hidayat is the latest to criticise the auction process of the inaugural Indian Badminton League (IBL) and felt the foreign players were not treated in a fair manner as compared to their Indian counterparts.
Hidayat was bought for a meagre USD 15,000 (same base price) by Hyderabad Hotshots. However, his less experienced teammates -- Pradnya Gadre (USD 46,000, base price - USD 10,000), Tarun Kona (USD 28,000, base price - USD 15,000) and Ajay Jayaram (USD 25,000, same base price) -- were sold for higher amounts.
"I felt bad when for the first time I saw on TV how much a player was bought for. I felt the IBL didn't treat the foreign players in the right manner. The price slab that was set was nonsense. Most of the foreign players were sold for their base price while the Indain players were bought for much higher prices," Hidayat told reporters last night.
The Indonesian said it was his first and last IBL.
"I felt the IBL organisers did not take world rankings into consideration. This is my first and last IBL," Hidayat said on the sidelines of a practice session here yesterday.
The 32-year-old Hidayat is aÂ three-time Asian Games gold medallist, who retired from the game after the Indonesian Super Series in June this year.
Hidayat is not only player to have criticised the IBL auctions. Earlier, 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had had slammed the League's decision to slash their base prices at the last moment, terming the move as "disrespectful" and "absurd".
The IBL had reduced Jwala and Ashwini's base price to USD 25,000 from USD 50,000.
Men's doubles specialists Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas had also claimed that their base prices were slashed from USD 15,000 to USD 5,000 without their knowledge.
However, Hidayat's Hyderabad Hotshots team-mate defended the IBL organisers and said that the Indonesian should not expect too much since he has already retired from the game.
"I think world number one (Lee Chong Wei) got the highest price (of USD 1,35,000). I don't think there is anything unfair about it. He (Hidayat) should accept it that he has retired now so you can't get the highest base price of course. It's a negative thing to speak like this," she said.
"But there are many Indians who are playing in it and of course the tournament is for Indians to come up. It is not like that we are doing anything wrong with the foreigners. What they are getting (money in IBL) I am sure they are all quite happy, because they don't even get it by winning the Super Series title or anything. I don't see this complaint coming from anyone else," Saina said.
"Of course, he (Hidayat) is a great player, he has achieved so much. But right now I don't think he should expect to get more than what he is getting. You see Lee Chong Wei is getting the highest money. It's a fair thing," she added.