All India Football Federation President Praful Patel today asked the corporate world and the government to support hockey and prevent a repeat of the players’ revolt that rocked the national game recently.
“I feel sad for what has happened to hockey. Being a hockey player myself, I feel this kind of thing should not have happened,” Patel told reporters here.
Patel, who is also the Civil Aviation Minister, extended his full support towards hockey and said the government must ensure that the national game is not deprived of financial assistance.
“However, we all must ensure that in our own way we support the game and the federation.
“Being AIFF president, I feel a sport does need to be supported strongly and corporates must come forward. The government, of course, does not support hockey, football or any game in a major financial way,” he said.
“But certain sports like hockey, which is our national game, should certainly be supported in every possible way by the government,” he added.
Indian hockey went through a major crisis recently when the men’s team had stalled their World Cup preparatory camp in Pune for five days earlier this month in protest against the non-payment of their dues and other demands.
The crisis was later resolved by Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, who brokered a peace deal between the players and Hockey India after team sponsor Sahara disbursed an immediate financial assistance of Rs one crore for the players.
But no sooner the men’s crisis had been resolved, the women’s team started to protest by wearing black armbands in their national camp in Bhopal, demanding the clearance of their pending money and equal treatment.