Federation’s athletes to pay 20% of earnings to SKNAAA


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – ALL athletes selected to represent the Federation at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey will have to pay the St. Kitts and Nevis Amateur Athletics Association (SKNAAA) a fee equal to 20 percent of the gross amounts earned at the meet.

This decision, according to Evris Huggins, SKNAAA’s Public Relations Officer, was made in an effort to recoup expenses incurred and to maintain the current development programmes of the nation’s junior athletes.

SKNVibes learnt of this new development through a number of athletes who are eligible for selection and were sent contracts with the additional clause.

This media house also learnt that some of the athletes claimed not to have been forewarned and could not understand the reason for this new development.

Therefore, SKNVibes contacted Huggins who explained that the national team has not yet been selected and the contract was sent to all the qualified athletes with the aim of informing them of the new clause.

“The contract is not foreign to any athlete…only the new clause. This contract was sent to all athletes who are currently on the association’s email distribution list, because the team has not yet been selected for the upcoming IAAF World Indoor Championships. In other words, the contract is a warning to the athletes that these are the expectations from here onwards, because the association can no longer afford to subsidise the exorbitant costs of sending athletes half way around the world to compete in meets.”

The new clause states:

• The Athlete shall pay the SKNAAA a fee equal to 20% of the gross amounts paid to or earned by the Athlete for participating in the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. This shall include prize money, appearance fees (including fees paid for promotional activities and ancillary to the competition), or other performance bonuses, guarantees, and the value of any prizes or bonuses paid in the form of merchandise of any kind. However, if the athlete is sponsored by our principal sponsor, Adidas, then the “other performance bonuses, guarantees and the value of any prizes or bonuses paid in the form of merchandise of any kind” will not be included in the calculation of the gross amounts paid to or earned by the Athlete;

• All fees shall be paid when the Athlete, or any person acting in the capacity as his/her Representative receives the amounts against which the fees are calculated. The Athlete shall also be responsible to reimburse the SKNAAA for any of the Athlete’s personal expenses actually incurred and paid by the SKNAAA; and

• The term “gross” shall mean all income earned by the Athlete before deductions of any nature including, without limitation, federal and or state income tax withholding, social security, federal state disability insurance, etc.
Huggins noted that for many years the SKNAAA has been footing the bills of all the expenses for athletes to travel and participate in some of the major meets around the world, and that the association is no longer financially capable of absorbing future expenses.

He explained that when the athletes are paid prize money and appearance fees, their agents are also paid a percentage of the earnings.

“Recent participation at the Games at Diego, I can tell you that the expenses were very, very extortionate and prize monies were won. The athletes were paid and the SKNAAA spent close to $100 000. And the agents for those persons who have contracts were also paid. Therefore, the association has decided that in these times, they saw it fit to make certain adjustments to the contract so that the association can get something back to put into the different sectors of sports for the youth or junior programmes that we are conducting in the Federation.”

The PRO declared that the association is now being run like any other business and management would also want to be able to benefit in order to help develop the other arenas that affect sport.

“So,” he added, “that is one of the main causes, granted that the association is conscious of everyone’s livelihood. We understand that it is a business for some of these people…it is their livelihood and we do not want to be taking anything from the athletes. But we want it to be understood that all the trips and all the meets that athletes travel to are at the expense of the association.”

Huggins stressed that the SKNAAA does not have any local partners, that it has to provide for itself and is heavily dependent on fundraising activities such as the Inter-School and RAMS Primary School Championships.

“There is no stipend coming from the government. As a matter of fact, we are not even subsidised the cost of the Departure Tax by the government. Therefore, we are not in receipt of subsidies from the government. All of the expenses being paid are coming out of the association’s bank account. And if you follow any other organisation that runs the businesses, you will realise that running meets like the Inter-School and RAMS Primary School Championships are very expensive, and sometimes we incur losses.

“So, again, we are conscious of the livelihood of athletes, but the association must be able to survive to maintain the programmes that we have in place that have yielded the success of athletics in the Federation.”

The 14th edition of the World Indoor Championships will be held from March 9 to 11 and the highly-qualified and ever-efficient Stewart Joseph was appointed Team Leader and Head Coach.