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Shree Cement offers to pay hockey players to end crisis

January 12, 2010 18:34 IST

With no signs of an end to the ongoing crisis in Indian hockey, leading cement manufacturer Shree Cement on Tuesday said it is willing to provide financial support so that players can resume training for the upcoming World Cup to be held in New Delhi next month.

"We have read reports that players are demanding certain amount of money while the association is willing to pay only a certain amount. I would like to say that our company is willing to pay the difference so that players can resume their training," Shree Cement Managing Director H M Bangur said.

Terming the current crisis as a "national disgrace", he said: "It is not only for the love of the game, but also for our pride. Hockey is our national game and one can't imagine a hockey World Cup held in India without our country playing in it because we cannot pay our players."

Asked what the company is looking for in return for the amount it is willing to pay the players, Bangur said: "Nothing but if the association or the players think they would like to sport our logo as a return gesture, we won't mind."

The stand-off between striking players and Hockey India (HI) deepened with the players walking out of an inconclusive meeting, prompting the establishment to serve a fresh 48-hour ultimatum to the players to resume training or get axed from the World Cup squad.

While HI said it does not have the required money to pay the players, who are demanding Rs 4.5 lakh each apart from a graded contract system, the campers were in no mood to relent at the meeting which ended with no immediate signs of an early settlement to the payment dispute.

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