HI, IHF to merge temporarily

In a positive development for Indian hockey, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and Hockey India (HI) resolved their differences and decided to merge.

New Delhi: Served with an ultimatum to merge
or face consequences, the warring Hockey India and Indian
Hockey Federation today agreed to jointly work together under
a temporary arrangement for the betterment of the game without
forming a unified body.

After a marathon eight and half hour-long meeting among
HI, IHF and Sports Ministry officials, it was agreed that the
two bodies will work under an arrangement which will continue
till December 2012. However, there was no merger between the
two bodies.

In what is being interpreted as a breakthrough of sorts,
the two factions agreed to jointly work on four aspects
-- organising National Championships, preparation of national
teams and selection of national teams and participation in
international tournaments.

Under the arrangement, there will be a joint Executive
Committee of 39 members and a joint Working Committee of eight
members which will take the final decision.

HI will have 20 members in the 39-member Executive
Committee while the remaining 19 will be from the IHF.

"The decisions will be taken by the Working Committee
which will have eight members -- four each from HI and IHF.

There will be a chairman and co-chairman of the working
committee, one each from HI and IHF. The chairman and the
co-chairman will have equal powers," HI`s General Secretary
Narendra Batra said.

Since HI is the recognised body by the International
Hockey Federation (FIH), it will be responsible for any
communication to the world body after a decision is taken by
the joint Working Committee.

IHF President R K Shetty and Batra jointly addressed the
media, saying that they were happy with the discussions and
the arrangements.

"The discussions were fruitful. We expect a robust
administration now with both bodies coming together on core
issues," Shetty said.

"Me and Batra are hopeful. We hope we will have a good
working relationship during this period and contribute to the
development of hockey," he said.

"We are also grateful to the Sports Ministry and the
minister for the efforts they have put in," Shetty said.

Batra, on his part, said that neither HI nor IHF will be
responsible for the contractual obligations of the other

"We all have to make adjustments and I believe if we are
honest in our intentions we will be able to do good work. The
main modality of the arrangement is that HI`s contractual
obligations on any matter, financial or otherwise, will not
lie on the IHF. It is vice versa for IHF," Batra said.

Sports Ministry had called a meeting today with the
ultimatum that the two warring bodies either merge or it will
take its own decision and inform the Supreme Court

The two bodies had several rounds of meetings in the
past few months but had failed to come to an agreement on the
merger issue.

According to minutes of the meeting, it was also agreed
that the name of HI would be suitably changed to "Bharat
Hockey", "Hockey Bharat" or "India Hockey" or any other
mutually agreed name.

As the broad arrangement, both IHF and HI shall continue
to be separate legal entities under the proposed arrangement
but this would not prevent them from exploring the possibility
of forming a confederation or opting for amalgamation at a
later date on the mutual consent.

Regarding the proposed World Series Hockey League, HI
confirmed that they shall not impose any restriction on the
participation of players who were contracted before 1.4.2011
in the proposed league being organised by IHF.

However, this will be subjected to training schedule for
the national camps and duration for which players can be
spared for such participation.

Also according to the minutes of the meeting, the
arrangement shall not in any manner interfere with the
separate legal existence and contractual commitments and
statutory liabilities of either party.

The Ministry also made it clear that they shall grant
provisional recognition to HI as National Sports federation
and maintain status Quo in respect of the recognition of IHF
as National Sport Federation for Hockey up to 31.12.2012
subject to meeting the following conditions after which the
government shall review the position and decide further on the
basis of Government guidelines.


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