Monday, January 11, 2010

For Dummies: How to host a World Cup

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
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.

India back on 'no pay, no practice'


New Delhi: All the talk between Hockey India and the six senior players over the non-payment of sponsorship money came to nought on Sunday when the 22-member squad continued to boycott training at the Balewadi Complex in Pune.
Miffed over Hockey India's "false promises and overlooking of the players' grievances", the players said they will stick to their stand of "no pay, no practice".
On Saturday, skipper Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Sandeep Singh, Tushar Khandker, Arjun Halappa and Sardara Singh had held closed door meetings with Hockey India president A.K. Mattoo at a city hotel here. The national body managed to convince those present saying it was in debt, and would need atleast 20 days to sort out the payment issue. All seemed hunky dory with skipper Rajpal even telling the media that the team would resume training from Sunday.
Things took a turn for the worse though when the players reached Pune and discussed matters with their teammates, who felt that "Hockey India had made a mockery of their demands by adopting a very convenient stance."
Team sources suggest that only two of the six players present in Saturday's meeting gave in to Hockey India's pressure tactics even as the rest stuck to their demands.
Said a senior player from Pune, "It is a fight for our rights. Hockey India says that it does not have funds, but we are not asking for astronomical amounts. A regular payment of Rs 25,000 per month is nothing after Sahara has paid it in crores."
The players have now demanded a direct meeting with team sponsors Sahara India to resolve the matter.
Sahara India paid the players a monthly salary of Rs 25,000 in 2004 only. In subsequent years, the players have been paid on a tournament-to-tournament basis (courtesy funds provided by the government), with almost no financial inputs from the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation or the current administrators.
It is now an open secret that most fringe players prefer to play for their companies than train in the national camp, a move that has hampered Indian hockey since long.
"Playing for India is our pride, and all of us have spent many years without proper monetary gains, diet or even staying conditions. But it is high time that the authorities look into the matter. Graded systems and incentives for performances are our two demands," said striker Arjun Halappa, a sentiment echoed by the rest.
The players' tough stance has put Hockey India into further trouble, which rushed Maharashtra Hockey Association secretary Ekram Khan to help sort out the issue. Khan held a late night meeting with the players, but to no avail.
"Yesterday, we had such a meeting with them where everything was discussed and a solution was reached. Now they come out saying they are going on strike again. This is blackmail," said treasurer Narinder Batra, who was furious with the boys.
Rajpal, when contacted, said, "We are not going back to the camp unless our demands are met. It was a marathon meeting that went on and on. We returned and conveyed to our team members what HI had offered us. But they felt it was too insignificant an amount and there was no question of ending the strike."
National coach Harendra Singh refused to take sides, saying all he wanted was the players to resume training as soon as possible.
FIH observer to attend HI meeting tomorrow
Meanwhile, FIH vice president Antonio von Ondarza will be present in his observer's capacity as Hockey India goes into a huddle on Monday to sort out its affiliation mess and take stock of the government guidelines before finalising the election date.
HI elections were slated for January 29 but it got deferred after the interim national body failed to issue a 21-day notice, necessary to be given before the poll date as per its constitution, due to the pending affiliation matters.

The Asian Age