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JUST REWARD:The Indian players are excited on recieving the Apple iPad during the felicitation organised by Hockey India in Bangalore on Thursday.— PHOTO: G.P. Sampath Kumar
: Hockey India is on the verge of meeting the long-standing demand for a graded payment structure for its players, according to secretary general Narinder Batra.
While the broad contours of the ‘retainership fee' system and grades of payment within had been worked out, he said here on Thursday, “finishing touches” were required and the matter would be settled within a day or two.
Speaking at a function in the city, where the National men's team was felicitated, Batra said, “Just the finishing touches have to be given now. I'll sit with four or five of the players and discuss it today. I want to do it as soon as possible. It could be implemented from April 1.”
Members of the senior squad will be graded on the basis of their international experience and fitness, with those in the highest pay bracket set to earn between Rs. 10 and 12 lakhs per year. “It depends on fitness and how many matches they play,” Batra said.
One point of divergence between HI and the players was the number of matches that separated one bracket from another, he revealed.
There is, however, complete clarity in the junior squad's payment structure, with each player set to earn Rs. 10,000 a month. “This is so that they can buy their own equipment and ensure they are not a burden on their family,” Batra said. He added that the senior women would be paid on the same scale as the men.
On Pakistan tour
Meanwhile, the tour to Pakistan, where the developmental squad is scheduled to play a tournament beginning April 9, would be cleared within a week, Batra felt. He also sought to dispel any concerns over security.
“About a month back, the Commerce Minister Anand Sharma went with about 40-50 industrialists to Lahore. If they did not have any security issues, why will the players have any? We've been assured it will be foolproof.”
As part of Thursday's felicitation, the 18-member team that qualified for the Olympic Games was awarded Rs.1 lakh and an Apple iPad by Hockey India, and Rs.1 lakh by the Lalit group of hotels. The coaching and support staff, meanwhile, was handed Rs.50,000 by each of the abovementioned donors.