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Charity match lands Indian hockey team in trouble

By The Assam Tribune

CHANDIGARH, Feb 20 (IANS): The Indian hockey team was again in trouble with organisers of a charity match alleging that the players are demanding a huge appearance fee for a scheduled game against Bollywood stars and TV celebrities here later Saturday.

India captain Rajpal Singh, however, refuted the allegations and demanded an apology from the organisers."It is all false and baseless. They are maligning the players," Rajpal told IANS."We are going to meet the organisers and demand an apology from them. Playing the match is not important to us now," Rajpal said.

The hockey players, who had a day off from their preparation for the World Cup beginning Feb 28, were scheduled to play against Bollywoood stars and TV celebrities. But only six players including Rajpal came here for the match at Sector 42 Stadium slated for 6 p.m.

"It is a charity match and there was a deal between the organisers and the players but now the team is asking for Rs.4-5 crore for playing the match," said Anshul Nagar, the spokesperson of AMR Foundation, the organisers.

The players had a different take on the issue.

"It seems the organisers did not provide air tickets to the players and that is why they failed to come to Chandigarh," said Indian team forward Deepak Thakur.

One of the officials of AMR Foundation said the money raised from the charity match would have gone to the players, but they had fears whether anything will come out from the match and so now they are demanding money.

Film stars Dharmendra, Govinda, Sunil Shetty along with some TV celebrities were scheduled to take on the hockey team. The timing of the match has been questioned by former players as it comes just a week before the World Cup.

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