New Delhi: In a major setback, the much-anticipated merger process between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation fell apart on Friday, thereby plunging the fate of the national game into deep uncertainty. (Agencies)
The talks between the two parties failed following a series of meetings, spanned over the last two days, in the presence of sports ministry officials.
Incidentally, the merger talks seemed to be heading towards a positive conclusion since the start of the meeting on Thursday, but eventually hit a roadblock with the IHF coming up with some new demands in the last minute.
"There was no consensus. Merger was not a subject at any point of time, it was a settlement which has failed," IHF secretary Ashok Mathur said.
"Power sharing and World Series Hockey turned out to be the major road-blocking issues. We wanted some more clarifications on World Series Hockey and power sharing. Our members wanted more power in the unified body which they disagreed," he added.
Mathur, however, lauded the government's initiative but said any settlement should be based on equitable basis.
"The government tried its best. I don't think the government will take any more initiative in future, but hockey will continue."
When reminded that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) does not recognise IHF, he promptly replied, "We are not answerable to FIH and the matter is sub-judice."
HI secretary general Narinder Batra blamed the IHF. "The discussions were going on for a month or so but today they came up with new demands which were not acceptable. If you ask me I would say they (IHF) is responsible (for the failed talks)," a visibly disappointed Batra said after the three-hour long meeting.
"All the recommendations of the ministry were fair and we have accepted all the points, There was no issue on the name of merged body also as we have agreed for change in name.
"But if the attitude of IHF is to create conflicts every time then we can't do anything. Till Friday the progress was good but the other side was not co-operative," he said.
"It is a big setback. Those who have served Indian hockey for 16 years should have thought about the game. They should leave behind their egos and join hands."
Batra also said that irrespective of failed merger talks, HI has decided to co-opt IHF president RK Shetty and former IHF chief KPS Gill in their executive board.
"Shetty was supposed to attend Friday's meeting but I don't know why he didn't come. But we have made up our mind to co-opt Shetty as senior vice-president and KPS Gill as life-time chief patron of HI in our next annual general meeting," he informed.
He also praised the government's effort and said they are open to renew the merger process anytime if the IHF decides to come on board.
"I would appreciate the role the ministry has played in the entire process. They wanted a unified body for the national game which unfortunately did not happen," Batra said.
"Whenever they (IHF) want to come they are most welcome."
New Delhi: In a major setback, the much-anticipated merger process between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation fell apart on Friday, thereby plunging the fate of the national game into deep uncertainty.