Hockey team go on strike
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The Indian hockey team stopped training for next month's World Cup on Friday morning, reiterating their demand to be paid by Hockey India and could now face punitive action from the ad-hoc body governing the sport.
The players said they were forced to take the drastic move after there was no response from Hockey India to the two letters sent by them — one on November 23, before the team left for the Champions Challenge in Salta, Argentina, and the other on January 5 — demanding incentives for their good international performance in 2009 and a fixed monthly salary for the players.
"We had sent them (HI) two letters and had mentioned that we will stop training on January 8 if our demands were not met, but we received no response from them and that's why we were forced to take this step," said skipper Rajpal Singh, addressing a press conference with the entire team in attendance, at Balewadi, Pune.
At the Azlan Shah tournament in May last year — which India won after 14 years — the players got just $15 per day, while for the New Zealand tour in March, they received $20-a-day each. The only other money the players make on India duty comes from prize money, if any, at tournaments. "Pride se pet nahi bharta," coach Harendra Singh had said during the Asia Cup in May in Malaysia.
"Despite us making it clear that we will stop practice, no Hockey India official thought it worthwhile to even talk to us. It is as if they thought this was not a serious issue at all," Rajpal said, adding, "This is very important for us and we have been forced to take a drastic step. We will carry on with the strike till something materialises."