Vidarbha Cricket Association pays referees their fees after five months overdue

NAGPUR: Finally, after a 5-6 month wait, the Vidarbha Cricket Association ( VCA ) umpires they have begun to receive their membership fees from the association. It is a much-needed relief for all those officials whose livelihood depends solely on officiating at local parties.

The umpires were in severe financial crisis after VCA indefinitely postponed all their remaining tournaments due to Covid-2019 in the third week of March. Many of them had requested VCA for their payments, but to no avail. The association only swung into the action after TOI, on May 10, reported the delay in paying the dues.

"We received a part of the payment today. They made electronic transfer. Though a part of it still left, we are being told that VCA will process it soon. All the young umpires were eagerly waiting for the cheques," said a senior umpire.

Some of the umpires had received part of their dues in December last year. Likewise, a handful of non-panel umpires , those who cleared umpiring exam in December, got a part of their fees in January. Others were told to wait.

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It is a big relief. Since this is my only source of income, I was desperately waiting for a 'credit' message on my mobile. We started getting calls from VCA 's account department after TOI published the news, said another umpire .

This money would be really useful as I don't see matches resuming in the near future. We still hope that the players can get back on the field and things will start working soon, another referee said.

After the conclusion of Guzder League two-day tournament on March 8, the umpires were expecting to get paid. It is learnt that the VCA wanted to complete Guzder League by March 31 before paying the dues. However, the One-day tournament was halted after just five matches due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since there was a restriction on movement in the city due to the lockdown, not many visited office and it led to the delay in making the payment, said a source in VCA.

When the official was asked about the reason for the delay between January and the implementation of the blockade, he said: We were planning to pay them before the start of the summer tournaments, but the blockade started suddenly.