HT has learnt that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) wants an amicable settlement of its legal dispute with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), and the meeting between the two parties is expected early next year.
IHF had challenged the FIH's decision to recognise Hockey India (HI), the other faction in the country, even before it was affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) or recognised by the government, in its judicial commission in London.
In the past, FIH had stressed on the IHF merging with HI, but the former had refused. IHF secretary-general, Ashok Mathur, confirmed the development, saying there was the option of mediation or going for a full hearing. Since the latter is expected to cost the two parties a lot, they have agreed to an amicable solution.
Mathur, however, didn't divulge the details of the settlement. "We are pursuing the issue step-by-step," he said of the case being settled out of court.
In case things don't work out, there is a possibility of the case going for full hearing, and further to the Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne. "We have an option but first we want to make full use of it," said Mathur.
Sources in the IHF said apprehension of losing the case and paying massive compensation to the IHF might have forced the FIH to take the decision. In fact, the HI-IHF dispute had dented FIH president's Leandro Negre's image as the world body had spent a fortune on the case. Meanwhile, the tussle for legitimacy has kept HI and IHF officials busy, and the fight will continue in 2013.
HI secretary-general, Narinder Batra, rubbished such talk. "The FIH recognises HI. It is as simple as that," he said on HI's "commanding position" as far as legal matters were concerned. Last year, following the interim order of the Supreme Court, former sports minister, Ajay Maken, had intervened and a series of meetings were held with the warring factions, but nothing concrete emerged.