New Delhi:Sports minister asks players to end strike
Sports Minister MS Gill has appealed to the players of the national hockey team to get back to training for the World Cup immediately and play to win next month, promising them a "fair deal" after the tournament.
He has pointed out that the current Hockey India committee is only an ad hoc body and elections will be held in February. So an immediate long-term solution is impossible. But, he says, he will ensure that the new elected management of the Hockey federation will resolve all issues.
The following is the full text of the Minister's statement:
- I have watched with concern, the standoff between Hockey India and the National Team, over issues of payment etc. The Sports Authority of India have been in close touch with the situation.
- I have noted the grievances of the players, as projected, through the Press.
- I am also aware, that since the elected Indian Hockey Federation was removed last year, the new Hockey India, is in the process of being formed. The current Committee is of an Ad-hoc nature. The election process for Hockey India, under the guidance of the Ministry's Observer and the FIH is in process, and will be completed on the 7th February 2010, when a regular management, with a regular tenure, will assume responsibility.
- In this situation, I am of the view, that an immediate long term solution is not possible. The duty of all players is to continue training, and be ready to play the first match of the World Cup, on the 28th of February 2010, against Pakistan. The new hockey stadium, which I inspected today, will be the best Hockey Stadium in the world. The players must train, and put in their best, and I expect good results.
- After the Tournament, the Ministry of Sports, will be in dialogue, with the new elected management of Hockey India, to find satisfactory solutions to all issues, raised by the Players. I wish to appeal to the players, to immediately join training, and continue so, with full heart, till the tournament, and focus to win it. I am clear, that after the Tournament, I will do everything possible, to give the players a fair deal. Everyone knows in the country, that it is my objective, to lift Indian Hockey to the glorious level, it has had in the past.