Maken gives HI, IHF a blueprint for merger

June 11th, 2011 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken Saturday gave Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) a blueprint for merger, paving the way for the two rival organisations to end their dispute.

The two outfits have been given time till Tuesday to get back to the ministry with their observations on Maken’s suggestions.

Briefing the media after the meeting, the sports minister clarified that the warring groups can also take a few more days to come to a common ground on the draft proposal.

The proposal has suggested that the strength of the executive board of HI, which is recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), be raised to 33 from 17 so that a majority of IHF members could be accommodated.

It virtually means the executive committees of the two outfits get merged. Also former IHF chief K.P.S. Gill is proposed to be the life patron in honorary capacity, but with voting rights.

The reconstituted body can run till 2014 when HI elections are due.

“It is a balanced proposal and it will be good for the game in the country. We are not taking any sides. The reason why we want IHF to merge with HI is that the latter has the recognition of world body so it will save us from legal complications. IHF will have equal voting rights in the executive board. They can respond to the proposal separately or they can hold talks and then respond.”

HI was represented at the meeting by secretary general Narinder Batra, vice president Pratap Satpathy, treasurer Md.Mushtaque Ahmed and associate vice president Rajeev Mehta, while IHF president R.K Shetty and secretary Ashok Mathur were present. Apart from Maken, Secretary of Sports Sindhushree Khullar and joint secretary Injeti Srinivas were present at the discussions.

The sports ministry, it appears, is keen that a composite hockey body is in place within three to four weeks.

The minister and his officials had met the two factions separately before holding a jont session.

IHF president R.K Shetty told IANS that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and there was sincere attempt by the sports ministry to end the impasse.

“I am extremely happy with the outcome of the meeting and I appreciate the sincere effort of the ministry to bring the two bodies together in the interest of Indian hockey. The IHF will soon meet to discuss the proposal,” said Shetty.

Maken said he is hopeful of a resolution.

“The two federations not working together is the reason why we are not doing well in hockey. We want to bring the old glory back and for that we have to work together.”

Asked whether Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will play any role in the merger, the minister replied in affirmative. “Afterall, it is IOA who has to recognise the body.”

When asked what will the ministry do if the talks fail, Maken said: “We will take some decisions and inform the Supreme Court which has put the ball in our court.”

The Supreme Court, hearing a writ petition and a special leave petition, in its interim order March 11 had asked the government to take appropriate decision in the matter and place it before the court.

The proposal also stated that with regard to disputes prevailing in some of the state associations, a joint committee comprising two elected and two co-opted members of the executive board shall be constituted to facilitate amicable settlement.

Ever since the two bodies had their elections, after IHF’s suspension was lifted by the Delhi High Court, they have organised separate national championship. Also, the two federations are going ahead with a professional league of their own causing confusion among the players.

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