Annual retainership soon

Annual retainership soon

Cash award, iPads given to players, support staff

The long-pending demand of annual retainership fee for the Indian hockey players will be implemented soon, Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra said on Thursday.

techno leap Indian hockey players check out the iPads given to them by Hockey India at a function in Bangalore on Thursday. DH PHOTO

The issue had flared up when the national men’s team went on a sudden strike just before the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi and a truce was reached then after being guaranteed that their requests would be met at the earliest.

While talks have been going on since then with no clear solution in sight, HI, after renewing the team sponsorship deal with Sahara India last month, announced that it will be introducing the retainership fee across the senior and junior squads after the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

“The talks are nearing an end and we just have to give the finishing touches,” said Batra here on Thursday on the sidelines of a felicitation function to honour the Indian team that qualified for the London Olympics. “The structure for the juniors has been finalised. Each player will get Rs 1.2 lakh per annum which will help them buy their own hockey sticks, equipment etc. We hope this reduces the burden on their families.

“Regarding the seniors, we are yet to arrive at a decision on the gradation system. We need to finalise on the credentials of Grade A, B and C players. I told the players about my ideas. Obviously they have their own views and expressed them.

“Grade A players cannot be treated on par with Grade C player. It’s stuff like that. I’m having another round of discussions with them today. We hope to arrive at an agreement soon. Apart from that, I need to talk to the women’s team as well. I want to implement the same fee structure for them without any disparity. We will announce the details soon,” added Batra.

Batra also stated that fitness and experience will play the key roles in determining the grade of a player with the player in the top grade earning about Rs 10-12 lakh per annum. Meanwhile, as promised, each playing member of the team that qualified for the Olympics were awarded Rs two lakh -- one lakh by the Lalit Suri Group and one lakh by Hockey India -- and an iPad.

The support staff, who were awarded Rs one lakh each, also took home an iPad each.  Baljit Singh Saini, Lazarus Barla and Sandeep Sangwan, the junior national coaches, were also presented with an iPad each.