HI-IHF talks fail, merger process stalled

The much-awaited merger talks between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) have failed on Friday.

New Delhi: In a major setback, the
much-anticipated merger process between Hockey India and
Indian Hockey Federation fell apart on Friday, thereby plunging
the fate of the national game into deep uncertainty.

The talks between the two parties failed following a
series of meetings, spanned over the last two days, in the
presence of sports ministry officials.

Incidentally, the merger talks seemed to be heading
towards a positive conclusion since the start of the meeting
yesterday, but eventually hit a roadblock with the IHF coming
up with some new demands in the last minute.

"There was no consensus. Merger was not a subject at any
point of time, it was a settlement which has failed," IHF
secretary Ashok Mathur told reporters outside the sports
ministry office here.

"Power sharing and World Series Hockey turned out to be
the major road-blocking issues. We wanted some more
clarifications on World Series Hockey and power sharing. Our
members wanted more power in the unified body which they
disagreed," he added.

Mathur, however, lauded the government`s initiative but
said any settlement should be based on equitable basis.

"The government tried its best. I don`t think the
government will take any more initiative in future, but hockey
will continue."

When reminded that the International Hockey Federation
(FIH) does not recognise IHF, he promptly replied, "We are not
answerable to FIH and the matter is sub-judice."

HI secretary general Narinder Batra blamed the IHF.

"The discussions were going on for a month or so but
today they came up with new demands which were not
accepetable. If you ask me I would say they (IHF) is
responsible (for the failed talks)," a visibly disappointed
Batra said after the three-hour long meeting.

"All the recommendations of the ministry were fair and we
have accepted all the points, There was no issue on the name
of merged body also as we have agreed for change in name.

"But if the atttitude of IHF is to create conflicts
everytime then we can`t do anything. Till today the progress
was good but the other side was not co-operative," he said.
"It is a big setback. Those who have served Indian hockey
for 16 years should have thought about the game. They should
leave behind their egos and join hands."

Batra also said that irrespective of failed merger talks,
HI has decided to co-opt IHF president R K Shetty and former
IHF chief K P S Gill in their executive board.

"Shetty was supposed to attend today`s meeting but I
don`t know why he didn`t come. But we have made up our mind to
co-opt Shetty as senior vice-president and K P S Gill as
life-time chief patron of HI in our next annual general
meeting," he informed.

He also praised the government`s effort and said they are
open to renew the merger process anytime if the IHF decides to
come on board.

"I would appreciate the role the ministry has played in
the entire process. They wanted a unified body for the
national game which unfortunately did not happen," Batra said.
"Whenever they (IHF) want to come they are most welcome."


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