March 10 is a rest day at the Hero Honda FIH Hockey World Cup. But for Hockey India and international hockey federation (FIH) officials, it'll be a working day. They will be busy solving the Hockey India (HI) affiliation riddle with state associations that have filed litigations in various courts all over the country.
Though the meeting has been called by Hockey India, FIH officials, including president Leandro Negre, too are expected to meet the state association officials in order to negotiate a settlement so that litigations can be withdrawn and elections held by May-end.
Negre is getting actively involved in the negotiations, as he wants to get approval from the FIH board for the World Club Championship for which he has had negotiations with an Indian sponsor. The FIH board will meet in New Delhi on March 15.
The FIH doesn't want to give the event to an ad-hoc body and face the same problems it encountered in the run-up to the World Cup.
HI has invited four groups from Maharashtra — Mumbai Hockey Association, Vidarbha and two factions of Maharashtra — for the meeting along with groups from Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
Confirming Mumbai Hockey Association's participation in the meeting, Olympian Joaquim Carvalho welcomed Negre's invitation for talks.
"We welcome Negre's initiative and are ready for talks. Our only demand is that all units affiliated to the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and the Indian Women's
Hockey Federation (IWHF) be involved in free and fair elections. We will withdraw the cases and participate in the elections," said Carvalho.
Ikram Khan, secretary of one of the Maharashtra Hockey Association factions, said he too would attend the meeting.
Negre invites KPS Gill
Negre has invited president of the now-defunct IHF to watch the World Cup matches. They are expected to meet before the semis to discuss the issue. “Gill has accepted the invitation and may watch the semis,” a source told HT. Gill has filed a case against the suspension of the IHF by the Indian Olympic Association and it needs to be settled before the elections.