Chandigarh: Former hockey captain Pargat Singh on Wednesday came in support of the players who rejected Hockey India's Rs 25,000 cash reward for winning the Asian Champions Trophy, saying that it was an insult to them to have offered a paltry amount.

"I think the whole thing has been mishandled. From my point of view, we should not give such small amount to the players and that too in a public function. Definitely, it is an insult to them," Pargat, who is currently Punjab Sports Director, said.

"It is better not give any money rather than give such a paltry sum," he said.

Former player Gaganajit Singh, who is employed with Punjab Police, said that the players did not deserve such a treatment after winning the Asian Champions Trophy.

"They don't deserved just Rs 25,000. This is not the way you treat your players. What example is being set and what kind of motivation will it act for the budding youngsters?" asked Jalandhar-based Gaganjit.

"With coach Michael Nobbs saying that winning the tournament was a litmus test for India to see if hockey is on right track, the reward money to recognise the effort put in by the players was just not enough," Gaganajit rued.

During a felicitation ceremony at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi last evening, the players were offered Rs 25,000 each cash reward but they outrightly rejected it.

India won the Asian Champions Trophy after defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 via penalty shoot out in the summit clash at Ordos in China on Sunday.

With India facing the possibility of losing next year's Olympic qualifiers after being stripped of Champions Trophy if a single national federation is not put in place, both Pargat and Gaganajit hit out at the "politics" in running the game in the country which they said had been "ruining our hockey".

"Champions Trophy is a big tournament, where all top teams play. We can learn many things there. Losing it is a big for India. I tried my level best, but the ego levels are so high, even higher than the country's prestige and this politics in our sport is going to ruin it," Pargat said, hitting out at IHF and HI.

He alleged that both HI and IHF are doing nothing on the ground.

"The politics in the game is damaging Indian hockey. It needs to be sorted out soon.  Ultimately it is the players who suffer and not the bosses who run hockey. No hockey administrator resigns and takes up the responsibility when team is losing rather the blame is put on the players and they are shunted out," he said.

Gaganajit lamented "lack of TV coverage" during the Asian Champions Trophy.

"How can we lift this sport and find sponsors if we do not even manage to have a live TV coverage for the event," he said.

(Agencies)