New Delhi: After squabbling for long over who should run the game in the country, Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation appeared to be heading towards a merger with both the federations agreeing "in principle" to form a unified body.
The Sports Ministry had proposed a merger plan and had asked both HI and IHF to furnish their views on it, while also warning of stern action against both the bodies if they fail to do so.
HI had already replied agreeing to most of the Ministry proposal while the IHF had sought time till Tuesday to give their views.
The IHF on Tuesday submitted its reply to the Ministry proposal and its president R K Shetty said it has agreed to most of the merger provisions.
A meeting was to be held between HI and IHF today but did not happen. Some IHF office bearers though had a meeting with Ministry officials.
"We had sought time till today to give reply to the Ministry proposal. We have submitted our reply today. We have in principle agreed that there should be a unified body," said Shetty.
"We were to have a meeting with HI today but it could not be held as they had some prior engagements. But we had a meeting with Ministry officials. The Ministry gave us a lot of confidence on the merger issue. It`s a positive step," he said.
A Ministry source said that the response from the IHF was a positive one and merger issue could be settled in a week`s time.
"IHF has submitted their reply. It was a positive response from the IHF. We are hoping that the merger issue would be sorted out in a week`s time," the source said.
In the merger proposal, the Ministry has asked HI to increase its executive board strength and include all the current IHF office bearers in it.
The ministry has asked HI to make former IHF president KPS Gill as the life-time patron of the merged body and also appoint an IHF office-bearer as a senior vice-president.