Players up in arms as IOB says no to WSH

Trouble is brewing in Indian Overseas Bank over the institution’s refusal to allow its players to take part in the World Series Hockey.

Some players have joined the camps of their respective teams, defying the diktat of the bank.

Sympathy is swelling for the players’ rebellion because IOB is seen as obstructing them from gaining money and exposure.

What has made the bank’s stand strange is its failure to give any specific reason for saying no to the WSH. IOB sports officer Aezaz Ahmed told Deccan Chronicle on Tuesday that the sports board of his institution decided not to give a nod to the tournament.

“The core committee of the sports board took the decision. In the letter issued to the players no reason has been given,” he added.

One WSH coach said IOB’s decision has stunned him. “When top teams in the country such as IOC, Air India, BPCL and ONGC have released their players for the WSH, why should IOB choose a different course?

Hockey India can’t punish IOB alone. The WSH is only about hockey. It’s not a political game. As there is little money in Indian hockey, the WSH has come as a boon for players to secure their financial future,” he added.

Indian Army, according to sources, is going to release its players on Wednesday. Chennai-based Indian Bank has permitted its employee V. Raja to take part in the WSH.

IOB is going to face a severe problem in attracting top players to its fold in the future. IOB can’t expect its sportspersons to forego financial benefits arising out of professional tournaments like the WSH just because the bank has given them a job.

Sportspersons are recruited because they have talent in a particular field. They certainly deserve to earn more than what their employers are able to provide them as monthly salary.

India is a peculiar country where government departments, nationalised banks and public sector units have to work hand in hand with professional tournaments to take sports forward.

The timing of IOB’s action is curious. Even though the bank was aware that some of its players had been roped in for the WSH more than a year ago, it has chosen to strike at the eleventh hour, that too without giving a valid reason.

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