Women's hockey team dons black arm-bands over non-payment of dues

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Bhopal, Jan 21 (ANI): Days after the men's hockey team got their incentive cheques after an open revolt, the women's hockey team is protesting against the non-payment of their dues.

The team, which is in Bhopal, are wearing black arm-bands at practice as a mark of protest.

Despite having a good run in 2009, the women's team has been left out for consideration for incentives by Hockey India, which has cited paucity of funds.

A statement made by Hockey India's President, Vidya Stokes, on January 19 saying that the women's team will not get any money due to lack of funds, has angered the players, forcing them to protest.

"We are only seeking an answer from Hockey India that when the men's hockey team went on strike, we did not do anything. We were told, when the men's team went on strike, that we would be considered for incentives, but now that that issue is over, our rightful demands are being ignored without being told why we are being discriminated against. The day Hockey India satisfactorily explains to us why the men's and women's teams are treated differently, we will remove the arm-bands," said Surinder Kaur, Captain, Indian Women Hockey Team.

The players say they do not get any money from the federation, either in the form of match fees, or as incentives.

"We have not been given any incentive till now. There is no match fee for us. Our girls come from very poor families and their families are dependent on them, but they cannot support them. We have not been given any incentives, no match fees. There is no money in women's hockey so I think we should have taken this step earlier," said Mamta Kharab, a senior player.

Despite the anger and resentment, the players say they will continue to practice hard and bring laurels for their country in the upcoming tournaments. (ANI)

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