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HI confident of resolving payment dispute with players

Source: PTI
January 09, 2010 15:52 IST
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India's revolting hockey players and the game's administrators on Saturday, held preliminary discussions to resolve a payment dispute that has stalled an ongoing World Cup preparatory camp in Pune.

The players, who flew down from Pune this morning, met Hockey India President A K Mattoo and some other top officials, demanding payment of their dues and increased salaries.

"We have already broken the ice and everything is under control now. The players have some commitment now and they will come back in the evening," Mattoo told reporters here after the first round of meeting.

"We will have another round of meeting in the evening and I'm confident that the issues will be resolved," he added.

Assistant coach of the team Harendra Singh, who was also present at the meeting, refused to comment on the current crisis.

"I don't want to make any comments on this controversy. All I can say is that the preparations for the World Cup are going on well and the boys are training as a unit," he said.

The unprecedented boycott of the camp followed Hockey India's failure to resolve the payment dispute despite the players submitting two letters.

"We have decided to boycott the camp indefinitely till we are paid our money. We took such a decision in a meeting of players last night", captain Rajpal Singh had said.

The revolt comes barely six weeks before the hockey World Cup in New Delhi and is bound to have a bearing on the preparations for the high-profile event scheduled from February 28 to March 13.

The senior players were annoyed by the delay in payment and had written a letter to Mattoo demanding that money be paid within seven days.

The letter had no mention about the pullout but sources said that the players had actually made up their mind to withdraw from the camp if the payment was not made in a week's time.

Although the players claimed that they had given HI time till January 8 to resolve the issue, Mattoo said no such deadline was given to them.

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