Soccer heroes stung by paltry pensions | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Soccer heroes stung by paltry pensions

Members of India's 1956 Olympics soccer squad have accused the national federation of treating them like "beggars" and have decided to return cheques received from the governing body, Indian media reported on Wednesday.

delhi Updated: Aug 05, 2009 17:34 IST

Members of India's 1956 Olympics soccer squad have accused the national federation of treating them like "beggars" and have decided to return cheques received from the governing body, Indian media reported on Wednesday.

Nine surviving members of the team which reached the semi-finals in Melbourne had suggested the federation started a pension scheme for former internationals.

However, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) last month sent them cheques for 25,000 rupees ($525). "We are not beggars that the national federation would be doling out a pitiful grant 53 years after our achievement," an angry Samar Banerjee, captain of the team, told reporters.

India were among the top Asian teams until the early 1970s when the national team's standard declined, failing to embrace professionalism which began to slowly take root in the region.

The AIFF is struggling for funds and has sought 100 million rupees ($2.1 million) from the cash-rich cricket board to prepare the national team for the 2011 Asian Cup finals in Qatar.