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Sahara likely to renew HI deal

New Delhi: After pulling out of cricket, Sahara India is likely to renew its contract with Hockey India (HI) for another five years in the next few days.

The company’s decision to back the national hockey teams came in the wake of its move to withdraw as the sponsors of the Indian cricket team.

As per the agreement, expected to be signed within a week, the country’s men’s and women’s hockey teams at both senior and junior levels will get the financial backing of the corporate giant till 2017, said HI sources.

Though sources claimed that the annual sponsorship amount could be around Rs 9-10 crore, HI secretary general Narendra Batra said a final decision is yet to be taken.

“We are still in the process of negotiations. The exact sponsorship amount would only be known once the deal is finalised,” said Batra.

Sahara India had first signed a sponsorship deal with then Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) in July 2003 for eight years. The eight-year contract ended in 2011 and the extended six-month deal also ended in January.

After IHF was disbanded and Hockey India was formed by the Indian Olympic Association, Sahara India’s relationship with the new body turned sour.

The marketing agents of Sahara India went to the court of law after the Indian national team shirts did not display the company’s logo during an international tournament.

HI officials remained hopeful that there would be a substantial increase in the sponsorship amount this time.