The sports ministry on Saturday claimed that efforts to patch differences between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) were headed in the right direction.
Following an hour-long meeting, chaired by sports minister, Ajay Maken, ministry officials said all indicators pointed to a ceasefire, though the final verdict would be delivered on June 14. Though HI and IHF have verbally agreed to unification, the minister has asked them to send a joint written statement by the scheduled date. HI was represented at the meeting by its secretary-general Narendra Batra and four others, while a three-member team, led by president RK Shetty, represented the IHF.
After the unification, HI will be the sole national governing body for the sport, "since it is recognised by the international body (FIH). Handing over the reins to the IHF would complicate matters," said a ministry official.
In the event of both parties backtracking, the ministry would have to inform the Supreme Court of the developments. The apex court had passed an interim order asking the government to take appropriate steps and place the developments before the court.
Ever since India failed to bag a 2008 Beijing Olympic Games berth, hockey had been in the news for wrong reasons.
The current scenario is giving rise to concerns that India might not be able to clinch a berth for next year's London Games. "With the present setup, it will be difficult to qualify for 2012 Games," a former India skipper had said after the team's dismal show in the Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia recently.