Players' revolt: Will Hockey India relent?

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Senior hockey players have arrived in Delhi along with coach Harendra Singh to meet Hockey India officials after Friday's revolt over non-payment of their dues

Updated: January 09, 2010 09:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Senior hockey players have arrived in Delhi along with coach Harendra Singh to meet Hockey India officials after Friday's revolt over non-payment of their dues when the entire national hockey team refused to turn up for practice.

Six players including Rajpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Tushar Khandekar and Sardara Singh are in Delhi for a a meeting with Hockey India, the interim body that governs the game in the country, followed by a press conference.

The meeting will be held in two parts with the first round taking place in Saturday afternoon and the second part later in the evening. The three officials who are taking part in the meeting are AK Mattoo, Jagbir Singh and Anupam Gulati.   

The players had boycoytted the conditioning camp after they said that Hockey India had failed to respond to two of their letters asking the authorities to make payments.

Hockey India, however, is confident of sorting out the issue at the meeting.

"I will talk to them and look into the matter to understand what exactly their grievances are. I am confident that we will sort out the problem soon," HI President AK Mattoo said on Friday.

Chak de India may fall a bit flat at the hockey World Cup next month if the latest crisis in the national game is not resolved.

The World Cup is scheduled to be held in New Delhi from February 28 to March 13. But the players say they will stay away from practice indefinitely.

"We have decided to boycott the camp indefinitely till we are paid our money. We took such a decision in a meeting of players last night", the Captain, Rajpal Singh said on Friday.

The senior players had written to Hockey India president Mattoo demanding that the money be paid within seven days. The letter had no mention about the pullout from the camp, but sources said the players had actually made up their mind to withdraw from the camp if the payment was not made in a week's time.

"Earlier we used to be paid after every tournament but it is not the case now. We had reminded the HI officials a few times, but nothing has been done. We will now report to the camp only after we are paid", Rajpal had said.

So what kind of money are we talking about? Consider this. The daily allowance money, a government allowance, given to members of the national team depends on the country they are travelling to. When the team travelled to Malaysia for the Azlan Shah Cup, each player got a princely sum of $14 of Rs 640 per day. India brought home the cup.

Last month, India won bronze medal in the tournament, held in Salta, Argentina. But unlike the previous occasions when they were paid in advance, this time they were left waiting even after the conclusion of the tournament.

"We would like to be paid our money for Champions Challenge in Argentina. In the previous three years we were paid Rs. 25,000 each for every tournaments before we left India. We would like to be paid this time too and as for the future tournaments, please make arrangements to pay well in advance," the players had said in the letter.

Rajpal said the players were forced to take such a step because Hockey India "did not care for them".

"Hockey India does not care for the players, it is very sad. The sponsors are paying the money, but the players don't get anything," he said.

Apart from their dues, the players are also demanding an increase in their pay packages and some incentives.

(With PTI inputs)

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