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Hockey merger fails, ministry to decide now

After two days of hectic debate, the talks to form a unified body to run hockey in the country met a dead-end on Friday.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2011 02:06 IST
Firoz Mirza

After two days of hectic debate, the talks to form a unified body to run hockey in the country met a dead-end on Friday. Ashok Mathur, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary-general, said it was unfortunate that the outcome of the talks came to naught for no apparent reason.

Narinder Batra, the Hockey India (HI) secretary-general, blamed the IHF for the stalemate, saying they came up with fresh demands, which were not acceptable. The talks, which began on Thursday, continued on Friday for more than three hours, but both parties failed to find a solution for merger.

"We just demanded a fair arrangement on power sharing. We proposed a divided tenure of secretary-general and treasurer, which was rejected. They also kept alienating themselves from our World Series Hockey, which in future, could pose troubles for the players. Besides, Batra also wanted us to withdraw cases filed against the FIH (international hockey federation) and IOA, which was not acceptable," said Mathur.

Batra said the recommendations made by the sports ministry for a unified body were "fair" but the IHF came up with new demands. He said that irrespective of failed talks, HI has decided to co-opt IHF president, RK Shetty, and former IHF chief, KPS Gill, in their executive board.

IHF’s new demand
"We have made up our mind to co-opt Shetty as senior vice-president and Gill as life-time chief patron of HI in our next AGM," he added.

IHF sources said they had proposed that each group should hold the posts for two years, whereby HI secretary continues till August 2012 and then IHF representative takes over till 2014, when the elections to form a unified body would be held. "Batra rejected the proposal outright because he did not want to forgo the post of secretary-general."

The source added that, "HI proposed two posts for secretary and treasurer (one each from the two bodies). We rejected this because we feared that Batra wield all powers and our representative would just be a glorified clerk in the set-up," said the sources.

A final bone of contention was the suggestion that the unified body should have a new constitution. "As we were forming a new body, we proposed that it should have a new constitution. How can the body have either the HI or IHF constitution?" said IHF president Shetty.

With the talks failing, the sports ministry now looks set to approach the Supreme Court and apprise it on the developments. "We heard both the parties in pursuance of the directives issued by the apex court. The talks were inconclusive, so now the government will take a decision," said Injeti Srinivas, joint secretary sports ministry.

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