The stand-off between the hockey players and Hockey India continues over the demands from the players relating to incentives and graded pay system.
Predictably, the people in charge of running the sport in the country have put forward some ‘ad-hoc’ proposals that the players have rejected. Hockey India is offering only Rs.25,000 per player while the players have asked for Rs.4.5 lakh each.Hockey India does not have the funds.The players at least want a written assurance from Hockey India which is also rejected.
The players have boycotted the conditioning camp for the forthcoming World Cup. Hockey India has given a 48 hour deadline for the players to take part in the camp.The players have also been warned that a team of ‘reserve’ players would be fielded in the World Cup.
Hockey India has criticised the money mindedness of the players and also has questioned the timing of the ‘revolt’. Hockey India has tried to use the card of playing for the nation.But as things are at the moment, the players are firm in their decision and are sticking to their demands.
I watched a press conference of the players where they pointed out that during the Azlan Shah tournament each player was provided $14 per day. On their tour to Argentina, the remuneration was $20 per day.These payments are pittances even when considers the pride of playing for the country.The men of Hockey India are least bothered about the image of the sport that has taken a lot of beating in the past few decades. People like Mattoo do not realise the pain and the sacrifices that the players make.
K P S Gill, the former top boss of Indian hockey claims that he could solve the problem in 10 minutes. This is utterly ludicrous since it is people like him who have taken the sport to such depths in the first place. In a way, Gill can do it. All he has to do is to hold the players at gun point and make them fall in line. Mr.Gill, these are players and not some criminals.
The Union Minister for Sports, M.S.Gill a self proclaimed saviour of Indian hockey wishes that the problem is solved immediately for the larger interest of the country.
The Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have offered help.Tomorrow, we may more such offers from Congress ruled states. This kind of attitude is something that is sickening to say the least.
Shah Rukh Khan has tweeted about this situation and a former actress /singer who now lives across the border in Pakistan has offered to hold concerts to raise funds.So much for the players and the sport!
The players have put forward the proposal that they can shell out money from their pockets to meet the expenses.
Ad hocism has plagued this country in all fields and sports is no exception.
It is only the players who have to think about national pride while people like Kalmadi, Gill etc. do not hesitate to hog all the limelight when the players bring laurels to the country.
What a coincidence that as I am typing this post, B B King is saying “The Thrill is Gone”.