Top stars set for big payday in India

Updated 17 December 2012
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Top stars set for big payday in India

NEW DELHI: A financial windfall awaits the world’s leading field hockey stars when they play in a new Indian tournament next month on the lines of cricket’s popular Indian Premier League.
The Hockey India League (HIL), sanctioned by the sport’s world governing body, will have the top stars turn out for five franchised-based teams from Jan. 17-Feb. 17, organizers said yesterday.
Indian captain Sardar Singh was picked up by the Delhi Wave Riders franchise for an annual salary of $ 78,000 at an auction that began in New Delhi yesterday and was expected to continue late into the night.
Moritz Fuerste, named the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) player of the year for 2012 after helping Germany win two successive Olympic gold medals in Beijing and London, went to Ranchi Rhinos for $75,000.
Dutch veteran Teun de Nooijer, 36, was sold to the Uttar Pradesh Wizards for $66,000, while Punjab Warriors bought influential Australian striker Jamie Dwyer for $60,000.
Among other early gainers were Indian penalty corner specialist V.R. Raghunath ($ 76,000), Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann ($ 68,000) and Australian midfielder Eddie Ockenden ($ 65,000).
Mumbai Magicians was the fifth franchise in the fray.
The money paled in comparison to what cricketers make in the five-year-old IPL — where top players earn around $2 million a year — but was still a financial bonanza for the hockey stars.
Each of the five squads will have 10 foreign and 14 Indian players for the televised tournament described by HIL boss Narinder Batra as a “game changer” in the world of hockey.
“The tournament not only provides players a great platform to showcase their skills, but also helps them gain financial rewards and raises the profile of hockey in India and across the world,” said Batra.
Among the renowned coaches signed up by the franchises, owned by Indian business houses, were Ric Charlesworth and Barry Dancer of Australia, and Roelant Oltmans of the Netherlands.
Hockey, often regarded as India’s national sport despite the country’s obsession with cricket, has been relegated to the background in recent years due to the team’s poor showing in major events.
India, who won the last of their eight Olympic gold medals at the Western-boycotted Moscow Games in 1980, failed to qualify for the Beijing Games in 2008 and finished last in London.

The HIL follows the launch last year of the unsanctioned World Series Hockey, another big-money event organized by the rebel Indian Hockey Federation that opposes Hockey India.


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
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Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.