Dismissing discrimination charges levelled against it, Hockey India 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 — something which has been promised to the men.

“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,” Ms. Stokes said in a statement.

“We are awaiting funds to come in the players fund as announced by Government of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Shree Cements, Bollywood stars, Sunil Gavaskar on behalf of the cricketers and any other source 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.

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