HI's reward for Champions Trophy win paltry, say experts

Experts blast Hockey India for announcing a paltry Rs 25,000 for Asian champions

Hockey India's (HI) paltry reward of R25,000 per player for the Asian Champions Trophy-winning team has earned wrath from all quarters.

Four-time Olympian and former India captain Dhanraj Pillay blasted the HI for announcing such a meagre sum for an achievement of this stature.

Indian hockey skipper Rajpal Singh (left) with his teammates during a
function in New Delhi on Tuesday. PIC/AFP

Later, Sports Minister Ajay Maken announced a cash award of R1.5 lakh to each member of the national hockey team.

"It's very unfortunate that the association (HI) has treated players in such a manner. Players have put in hard work and earned laurels for the country and they don't deserve to be treated such shabbily," Dhanraj told MiD DAY yesterday.

Reacting to HI supremo Narinder Batra's statement that they could afford only Rs 25,000 considering the financial crunch of the federation, Pillay even accused them of siphoning funds. "I can't get over this statement. Where is the sponsorship money going? What has been done with the money given by Sahara India Parivar? If the federation doesn't like to splurge money on the players for their achievements, it is absolutely unfair," Pillay said.  Pillay also revealed that when he last spoke to Batra, the HI chief had assured him that everything would be in order by July 2011. "I was told that after July they were expecting the sponsorships to flow in, but now it seems nothing has happened," Pillay divulged.  Another former India captain and coach Joaquim Carvalho also took a swipe at the HI move and sought their removal from the administration with immediate effect.

"This is shocking. Such a small amount to recognise such a feat is an insult to the players. This stance by HI has proved that they are absolutely inefficient and they have no right to continue in office," Carvalho said.
"They should try and find a door -- either the front or back -- and run away immediately from administration which will save hockey in the country," Carvalho added.

"The players did the right thing by rejecting the cash award offered to them by HI. The federation should have consulted me before announcing. The players are eligible for a cash award of R1.5 lakh each under the government scheme," Maken said in a media briefing adding that the support staff and the coach would get Rs 75,000 each.

Pillay though thanked the Maharashtra government for recognising local player Yuvraj Walmiki's feat. "I am told the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray have announced special bounty for Yuvraj Walmiki and that will encourage the youngster to do even better in the future," Pillay said.

Meanwhile, Punjab government reportedly announced R25 lakh for the team while the Maharashtra government would give a cash award of R10 lakh to the team and a permanent job for Yuvraj.

(With inputs from agencies)

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