The initiative of the sports ministry to resolve the dispute between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) is on hold as the latter has asked for more time to ponder over the details of the proposed merger.
On June 11, the ministry had given three days to HI and IHF to give a joint reply. On Tuesday, sports minister, Ajay Maken, informed that while HI's response had been positive, IHF had sought seven more days to give its response.
Despite running out of time, as the next preparatory camp for the men's squad is around the corner, the ministry is trudging a cautious path. "We don't want to rush things forward and take any decision in haste," the minister said.
In a communication to the minister on Tuesday, IHF president, RK Shetty, said he needed more time to think on the merger.
"IHF is an elected body with an executive council and a general body. We can only make a detailed response to the proposal after analysing the impact of each point and also study the pros and cons of the same.
Only after due deliberation, we will be able to present the same to you. Hence grant us a timeline till June 21," Shetty's letter said.
"As per the IHF constitution, we want to consult all the affiliate units in order to avoid legal dispute later on with any state unit," Shetty added.
Though the IHF president hasn't expressed any reservations or concerns over the proposed merger plan in his letter to the ministry, insiders say the IHF think-tank is of the opinion that the proposal is slightly tilted in favour of HI.
"The proposal is not in the interest of IHF," said an IHF official.
Even HI, it is learnt, has raised objections to the proposed World Series Hockey league, a joint venture of IHF and Nimbus Sports. It has also refused to take any financial liability of the IHF post the merger.
Despite ambiguity on the merger plan, the minister is hopeful of an amicable solution. "One unit has agreed, the other will also follow suit," said Maken.