Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If Hockey India cares about players it should support World Series

The World Hockey Federation (FIH) might be crying foul, Hockey India might have been issuing warnings, but the players, it seems, are having none of it.

The whole lot - both current and not-so-current, including the side that just won the Asian Champions Trophy in China recently - is believed to have signed on the dotted lines for the World Series Hockey (WSH), the inaugural edition of which is scheduled to run from December 15 to January 22.

And why not? After all, they stand to gain in lakhs, not in thousands, considering the paltry Rs 25,000 that was offered to them by Hockey India for their title-winning effort in China.

"A performing player can earn up to Rs 40 lakh per WSH season, including incentives and prize money. Our aim is to make hockey a lucrative career option. Rs 40 lakh for playing just two months in a year isn't bad, is it?" asks Yannick Colaco, COO, Nimbus Sport, who are the joint promoters of the event along with the Indian Hockey Federation.

The WSH will be a franchise-based multi-city event with players to be acquired through the draft system, like in the NBA. "The players will be graded as per current reputation and form, but there will be no difference in pay between Indian and foreign players. All players will get equal opportunities, the incentives are the same for all, but star players will obviously earn more," said Colaco .

On the FIH's ban threat, he said all the players had signed the contracts before March 31, which was the deadline set by the world body. "We don't believe that the FIH has the right to ban any player for playing in WSH, whether they sign with us before or after March 31. However, given that all players have signed with us before March, the ban threat is anyway irrelevant," Colaco added.

He, however, expressed surprise over the stand taken by HI. "If they really care about the well-being of players, they should support WSH. More than anyone, it's the players who stand to gain the maximum. It's about their financial security. I see no reason why Hockey India should see red," he said.
Times of India

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