Asserting that the members of the Indian hockey team did the right thing by rejecting Hockey India's (HI) Rs.25,000 as reward for winning the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy, Sports Minister Ajay Maken Wednesday announced that each player will now receive Rs.1.5 lakh.
Maken said the players are suffering because of the internal problems of hockey administration what with HI and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) squabbling about power-sharing.
"The players have done the right thing by rejecting the cash award offered to them by HI. The federation should have consulted me before announcing the award. The players are eligible for a cash award of Rs.1.5 lakh each under the government scheme," said Maken.
Asked why did he announce the government scheme a day after he felicitated the team, Maken said: "The scheme was already there in public domain and I thought it was not required to make it public again. This is not a pittance, it is what they deserve. I spoke to HI secretary general Narendra Batra and told him if he wanted to reward the players we could have done it together so that the players got Rs.1.75 lakh each."
Maken also said the support staff and the coach would get Rs.75,000 each.
"We have spent Rs.7.81 crore on the preparation of the team for various events. Of this amount, Rs.5.97 crore was spent on national coaching camps, Rs.1.75 crore on foreign exposure and Rs.8.5 lakh on foreign experts. We are also paying $10,000 as salary to coach (Michael Nobbs) for the first time in any sport," he said.
Under the Scheme, the government had given cash awards worth Rs.33.89 crore in 2010-11, Rs.5.50 crore in 2009-10 and Rs.8.75 crore in 2008-09.