With no solution in sight to the payment dispute that has rocked Indian hockey, team sponsor Sahara on Wednesday decided to release Rs one crore immediately to be distributed only among the striking players in a bid to resolve the crisis.
"In the genuine interest of the national hockey players, Sahara India Pariwar has decided to pay immediately Rs 1 Crore in suspense account to Hockey India, only for distribution to the players so that they can peacefully and happily practice and play for the country," Sahara said in a statement.
"Sahara has also paid Rs 77 lacs in December as advance for the quarter of January 15 to April 14, 2010. Sahara will go through the past accounts of Hockey India and shall take suitable decision for this amount," it added.
Indian hockey slumped to one of its worst crises ever when the 22 probables for World Cup stopped training at the Belawadi Sports Complex in Pune on Friday in protest against their pending financial dues and incentives.
The strike was, however, called off on Saturday after six players held a marathon meeting with HI officials here.
But the truce didn't even last for a day with the players deciding to resume their strike again from Monday as they were not satisfied with the assurances given by HI.
The scenario turned uglier yesterday when the striking players walked out of negotiations with HI, prompting the angry administrators to serve a fresh 48-hour ultimatum to the campers to resume training or get axed from the World Cup squad.