Sep 26, 2015

Players Association Is The Voice Indian Hockey Needs

Players Association is the voice Indian players needs

In Indian hockey, players and the federation officials have always been at loggerheads, be it over the issue of salary, facilities or unceremonious dumping of the players without providing any specific reason to the players in question. The decisions taken by Hockey India (or predecessor Indian Hockey Federation) have never taken the well being of players into account while dishing out the decisions. Media only focuses on the situation when there is huge hue and cry among hockey fans of India. 

It is not easy to imagine the situation of the players who have worked hard to bring laurels for the country and then face the injustice handed out to them by hockey officials of the country. It is time, that hockey players receive some support to defend against unfair rulings of hockey officials. Every major sports federation of the world have formed players union or association to look after the needs and interest of the players during and after their playing days and its time Indian hockey players also form one for themselves.
In just last couple of months, there have been instances where the players have been done by hard by the federation and there has been no one to stand on behalf of the players who were wronged. First instance is obviously of midfielder Gurbaj Singh who was banned for creating disharmony among the players despite Indian players including Captain Sardar Singh backing him. With no support, Gurbaj Singh could not put his point forward and his appeal did not help him. With a proper sports body to represent the player’s interest, the outcome of Gurbaj Singh appeal could have been different. 

The other instance that comes into light is Hockey India’s decision of not allowing Indian players over the age of 30 to take part in Hockey India League auctions thus robbing the franchises the services of some of the best Indian players while foreign players over the age of 30 were allowed to participate. The players union could have fought for the players’ right and made sure the veterans of the game would have a short at one last payday before their retirement. 

Looking at above two situations, it is not difficult to find out that the players have been done hard by and they need a voice to speak on their behalf. Even Indian football as a players association called Football Players Association of India which has been working for the players since the year 2006. The Professional Footballers’ Association was formed in the year 1907 and they have been helping the players for more than a century. Even in hockey, New Zealand has a players association which has helped the players in securing better contract from the board. 

Players association are formed for the benefits of the players, not only monetary but also giving them education in beyond the field. Apart from these major activities, players association also provide motivation to the players. For example, FPAI gives awards to the players (PFA in BPL do the same), gives consultancy to the players on anti-doping, it advices the players on injuries and rehabilitation, arranging tours to gain better exposure, exhibition matches for the promotion of the game as well as players.

The players association not only looks out for current players but also takes care of former players by providing them education to take on jobs after their retirement. In India we have seen numerous cases where the players after retirement have to do odd labour jobs (not just hockey) and the players association can really help these players to plan for their future. 

Players association is one organisation that can really help in well being of the players, be it on or off the field. Its time, the current generation of the players become selfish and form an association to take care of past, current and future generations.

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