Dismissing discrimination charges levelled against it, Hockey India [ Images ] on Friday said it will pay the protesting women hockey players at par with their male counterparts once it has the fund ready.
HI interim president Vidya Stokes said the association was waiting for funds from various state governments and other sources and promised the women players would also be brought under an annual gradation system as has been promised to their male counterparts.
"Hockey India does not differentiate between men and women. The women's team will also be paid at par with the men. We will also be doing grading of players for annual contracts," Stokes said in a statement.
"We are awaiting funds to come in the players fund as announced by Government of Madhya Pradesh [ Images ], Uttar Pradesh [ Images ], Punjab [ Images ], Shree Cements [ Get Quote ], Bollywood stars, Sunil Gavaskar [ Images ] on behalf of the cricketers and any other sources or people who came forward," she said.
Indian hockey plunged into another crisis barely a week after the issue with the men's team was resolved when the women players on Thursday resorted to silent protest by wearing black arm bands against the non-payment of their dues.
The situation got murkier when the players rejected HI's immediate reward of Rs 50,000 each to the campers in Bhopal.
But HI said the present money was just an advance and the balance would be paid once the new office bearers took over after its February 7 elections.
"Rs 50,000 being given to women is an advance payment only and balance payment will be paid by the new elected body of Hockey India," Stokes said.
The interim HI president also said that both the captain of the men and womens' teams have been added to the six-member panel which would manage the funds that is pouring in from different quarters for the players.
Apart from the two captains, the panel would include four former India players -- MP Ganesh, Ajit Pal Singh, Zafar Iqbal and Dhanraj Pillay -- as well as one member each from the IOA and HI.