Apollo Tyres refuses to reveal finance details to AITA (Lead)

September 29th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) Drawn into a controversy over their project that promises to groom Grand Slam champions over the next ten years, Apollo Tyres Monday rejected All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) demand to reveal the details of the amount spent on the project.The corporate house has promised to pump in Rs. 1 billion over the next 10 years for the project - Apollo Mission 2018 - which started this year.

AITA secretary Anil Khanna Monday in a virtual chargesheet accused Apollo Tyres of doing little in the name of development. He said the corporate instead is cashing on the opportunity to promote their own brand.

AITA in a letter to Apollo Tyres asked them to be “transparent” and reveal how much they have spent on the project.

Rebutting the charges, Apollo Tyres saidit was willing to discuss the issue with AITA but cannot give any audit of the money spent.

“We are a corporate and we have set certain mission for promotion of the sport. We have kept aside Rs. 1 billion for the project but it does not mean necessarily Rs. 100 million every year,” Avik Chattopadhyay, head of Apollo’s corporate marketing, told IANS.

“We are a public limited company and we can only reveal the details of our spending to the shareholders. We cannot show it to any third party.”

“We do not have any agreement with AITA on the project and this is our own initiative. As a corporate, it is our little effort for whatever we can do for the sport. We have received letter from AITA and willing to discuss any other issues they have regarding the project,” he said.

Earlier, Khanna charged Apollo Tyres for taking mileage out of the project.

“The commercial appearance of the company in the magazine and television seem to give an impression that it is only their commitment that is going to work towards the creation of a Grand Slam Champion.

“AITA considers nothing wrong in requesting the company to be able to make their spendings on development of tennis, excluding the money spent on advertisement,” said Khanna responding to a media report Monday.

But Chattopadhyay rubbished AITA’s claim of hogging the publicity at expense of other corporates.

“If you go through the advertisement, nowhere we have mentioned that we are the only corporates helping Indian tennis. We welcome any corporates or other organisation who help the sport in the country. We are all working towards a common goal,” Chattopadhyay said.

“We are very clear with our plans and programmes. We will identify talent across the country and bring them to Bangalore for training. We already have 21 children being trained there as part of the project and they are doing good.”

The issue cropped up after a media report Monday claimed that AITA’s motive to send a letter to the corporate house was to target Mahesh Bhupathi, who has a tie-up with this project, to curb his rising importance in Indian tennis.

Khanna said they have nothing against Bhupathi whom they consider an honourable player.

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