The All India Tennis Association says it will not waive 'royalty' of around US $40,000 on the Chennai Open unless the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) proves that the tournament is a loss-making venture, and made it clear that constitutional provisions are binding on all members.
Snubbing the All India Tennis Association, TNTA got government clearance for hosting one of the season-openers on the ATP Tour on its own, and has also refused to pay the royalty, which is 10 per cent of the total prize-money.
The TNTA's view is that since they do not get any help and voting rights from the AITA for hosting the event, starting December 30, they will not pay the royalty they have been paying all these years.
"Chennai Open is a good tournament. We have to support it and it should be conducted in the best possible manner. We have written to them (TNTA) that if you can prove that you are making loss, we can think of it (waiving of royalty)," AITA secretary-general Bharat Oza said.
"If they have valid reason, we can not only waive it off but we can pay (to them as help) on top of it," he added.
Asked why the AITA insists on royalty when the tournament is being staged without its help, Oza replied: "That is their view. They have to follow constitutional rules. It is constitutional provision. There is nothing new. Constitution is there, and we don't have to explain it to media. It is our right to waive it, reduce it or subsidise it. AITA is made of all state associations, all members have to follow the rules."
If the TNTA sticks to its stand, the issue, he said, will be discussed in AITA's next Executive Committee meeting.
After being snubbed, the AITA has now asked the government to entertain applications through authorised signatories of the AITA. The government has not withdrawn the NOC given to the TNTA but "agreed" to accept AITA's request in future.
A TNTA official said, "AITA never had an issue with us writing to various sponsors over the years through which we raised significant amounts for AITA. So why this question of about us writing now?".
Another senior AITA official said all this is happening due to difference of opinion.
"IMG (which owns the event) has been paying for the last 17 years. Today there is difference of opinion so they want to stop. We will discuss that in the Executive Committee," he said.
Asked what the differences are, the AITA official said, "They basically want to rule the federation. They want to have the last say on all decisions."
The fighting between the state association and AITA has reached such a level that the TNTA has even withdrawn its members from the AITA's selection committees.
Sai Jayalakshmi has withdrawn from the senior selection committee while TNTA secretary-general CBN Reddy has withdrawn from the chairmanship of the junior selection committee.
The AITA, though, does not consider it a problem.
"There is no dispute whatsoever. If they think, it is up to them; but as per AITA, there is no dispute."
A TNTA official, however, voiced their grievances.
"No one from TNTA has been accommodated in any key executive position of AITA since late 80s. TNTA is by far the most active State federation. Since we are not given our due, we have withdrawn from all committees," the official said.