Indian hockey has been rocked by yet another controversy with organisers of a charity event on Saturday claiming that the players demanded Rs 5 crore to feature in the matches, an allegation the national team members denied.
Hardeep Sandhu, a member of the organising committee of AMR foundation, claimed that hockey players led by Prabhjot Singh, Rajpal Singh and Deepak Thaukar were demanding Rs 5 crore to play in the four charity matches of 15 minutes each featuring Bollywood and TV stars.
"AMR foundation had roped in 22 players to feature in four exhibition matches with Bollywood and TV stars but when yesterday one of the representatives of the organisers handed them the flight tickets from New Delhi to Chandigarh, a group of players told they don't want these tickets as they are not gaining anything," Sandhu said.
"Players said they were expecting Rs 4 to 5 crore from sponsorship. Now that not much sponsors are coming, they refused to play. The organisers are very upset as despite written agreement they are backing out," he added.
However, Prabhjot, Rajpal and Deepak rubbished the allegations and after landing here said they would have a meeting with the organisers and also demanded an apology from the organisers.
"This is absolutely baseless. It baffles me why organisers are making such allegations at this moment. I smell a conspiracy here. There is no demand of money, we know it is charity match," Rajpal said.
"We will be meeting the organisers and playing the match is secondary issue now. It is a big allegation that has been leveled against the players and organizers should clarify. That is why only three players have come and rest are in Delhi," he added.
AMR Foundation spokesman Ansul Nagar said that there was no particular deal and they had just planned to give the sponsorship money from the charity match to the players.
"There was no deal. There was an emotional call, where in we would be having this event in which all sponsors would come in, all money would be given to the players directly and now they are talking about 4-5 crores," he said.
Deepak, on the other hand, said that some of the players were not given flight tickets and they had demanded for the tickets and also claimed that the organisers had not confirmed their participation.
"Why it has erupted I don't know. The only point that we had is a couple of players were not given tickets and we wanted they should be given the tickets. Organisers should apologise for the allegations," he said.
"They have kept us in the dark about the details of the match. We were not clarified or confirmed told anything about the timing or any details," he added.