Comment By Jugjet Singh
THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) must be kick ing themselves silly, as they struggle to come to grips with what is happening in India, who will host the World Cup on Feb 28-March 13.
India players went on a strike last week because they did not receive payments promised since 2004, and after six players had a three-hour discussion with Hockey India, they agreed to resume training.
Hockey India, the ad-hoc committee governing the sport in the run-up FIH insisted elections before the World Cup, had told the six players who attended the meeting that they did not have the money to disburse.
The six , Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa, Tushar Khandekar and Sardara Singh then went to break the bankrupt news to their team-mates, and the agreed truce, but the rest of the team did not share their sentiments, and the team went back into strike mode.
Welcome to India, Mr president of the FIH Leandro Ne gre.
The Spaniard must be feeling quite giddy right now, as not only is the hosts’ team in a fighting mood, but also the proposed elections on Jan 29 has been postponed because Hockey India could not sort out affiliations, and time is now not on their side to send out a 21-day notice to call for elections.
FIH wrote a stern letter to Hockey India and the Sports Ministry, asking them to be above board on affiliation, and the concern is so great that: “FIH vice president Antonio von Ondarza will be present in his observer’s capacity as Hockey India goes into a huddle to sort out its affiliation mess and take stock of the government guidelines before finalising its election date,” reported Zeenews.com.
Negre had said, when met at the Junior World Cup co- hosted by Johor Baru and Singapore that a fair election is a must before India can host the World Cup. That was in the middle of last year, and the mess is still there a month before the tournament starts.
Welcome to India, Mr president, Negre.
India coach Jose Brasa, also a Spaniard said to The Hindu: “I am not from India. I am not the one to decide whether the players should be paid or not? If everybody agrees they should be paid, then they should be paid.
“The players have been waiting for a few years for this. I think the last time they were paid was in 2004.
The Spaniard then expressed his feelings for the players: “But let me tell you that the players are very sad. They have been crying. This is not a good situation for them. It is a difficult situation for all of us. It is not for me to say if they have chosen the best time to make the protest.”
The demand is simple, a graded payment system, fixed salaries, insurance cover and pending dues.
But the situation is tricky, as the players have demanded 3 lakh each before they pick up their hockey sticks, and their skipper Rajpal told PTI that they will not go back to camp until their demands are met.
Across the Punjab border, Pakistan’s Parliament fined members of its national hockey team 200,000 rupees (RM7,800) after photographs surfaced on FaceBook of them with a female liaison officer at the Champions Challenge I in Argentina last month.
Pakistan lost to New Zealand in the final, which cost them the Champions Trophy ticket, and the pictures were taken at an official players night at the end of the tournament.
The pictures are all over the Internet for the public to judge. The Pakistan officials and players are guilty of nothing more than being close to a liaison officer, nothing obscene, in Spain, but warranted a Parliamentary rap in Pakistan.
Welcome to Asia Mr President.