Physical fitness, not experience, will be the yardstick to categorise players for annual contracts that Hockey India (HI) expects to execute shortly. If HI secretary general, Narinder Batra, is to be believed, 33 players each in the senior, junior and sub-junior groups will be short-listed on the basis of fitness.
To gauge the level of fitness, HI is expected to draw up certain parameters. “We will not compromise on that front,” Batra told HT on Sunday. He, however, did not disclose the fee structure.
Recently, HI signed a five-year deal with Sahara, and according to sources, the players are set to get major financial benefits.
Apart from fitness, performance will also count when the contracts are renewed. If the national team doesn’t improve its international ranking, it will translate into a poor fee structure for the next year. Currently, India are not in the top-10 in FIH world rankings.
The women’s national squad will be given two years to improve its global ranking. “Since their fitness levels are not high, they will get a grace period,” said Batra.
Among the women too there will be 33 players in the senior, junior and sub-junior sect-ions.
HI plans to revamp the domestic structure, making it mandatory for state associations to field teams in at least four out of six national-level events in a calendar year.
“State units which do not field teams could be derecognised,” said Batra. The federation also plans to fund district-level tournaments.