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    Default Amritraj consultancy fee double the prize money

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    Vijay Amritraj received a "consultancy fee" of USD 140,000 (about Rs 6.5 millions) each year for his association with the ATP Chennai Open and the amount paid to the former Indian Davis Cupper was declared in the budget estimates submitted to the union Home, External Affairs and Sports ministries for clearance of foreign exchange.

    According to documents made available to IANS here Monday, the 2009 Chennai Open had a budget of USD 1.2 million of which USD 400,000 was allotted to "appearance fee" and USD 50,000 towards prize-money besides the "consultancy fee" paid to Amritraj.

    Incidentally, the "consultancy fee" paid to Amritraj is twice the prize-money that the winner of the tournament receives, which is USD 68,450.

    The 56-year-old Chennai-born, US-based Amritraj was projected as the "face" of the Chennai Open that the Tamil Nadu government supported through a consortium of sponsors over the past few years.

    As such, Amritraj was a permanent fixture at the draw ceremony usually held two days prior to the commencement of the tournament as also at the prize-distribution ceremony on the concluding day of the event.

    However, this year, Amritraj was not invited to the draw ceremony and it can only be inferred that his involvement in the tournament has been drastically reduced.

    At an impromptu interaction with the media Sunday, Amritraj made an emotional statement about his efforts to give the Chennai Open a high profile and that he did not attend the draw ceremony because he was not invited.

    When contacted for his comments on Amritraj's "consultancy fee", Ravi Krishnan, Managing Director, IMG (South Asia), the owners of the tournament, said: "As the event owner, IMG is the sole arbiter of the event budget. In the case of Aircel Chennai Open, we do take inputs from TNTA on certain items."

    Amritraj was not available for his comments.


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