Maken summons HI, IHF for merger talks

Maken said the Sports Ministry has laid down a proposal to be discussed with both the warring factions in the meeting with a view to merge the two bodies into one.
However, Maken also warned the two bodies either sort out their differences or risk government interference and firm action.

Hockey has been mired in controversies over the last few years, as there has been a bitter war going on between HI and the de-recognised IHF over the management of sportspersons.

"We are going to issue a notice to both HI and IHF to come to my office on Saturday. Along with the notice we are also sending them the proposal to have one federation in the national interest.

"That national federation should consist of equal number of representatives from both sides. That particular federation should decide the coach and the team," Maken told reporters here today.

"I am hopeful that both of them will agree to our proposal. If both of them do not agree than the government will take a firm step and interfere and inform the court," Maken said.Maken also revealed that he held a secret meeting with former IHF president KPS Gill and Hockey India officials at the former's home last month to break the deadlock between the two feuding bodies.

"I personally about a month ago went to the house of former IHF president KPS Gill along with Hockey India officials and tried that both should arrive at a consensus," he said.
"Unfortunately despite my best efforts and expectations at that time, nothing happened. So now I have decided to call both the IHF president (R K Shetty) and Hockey India President (Mariyamma Koshy) for a meeting at my office. The government is giving them a proposal and we would like both of them to accept our proposal," he said.

Last year, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) had made it clear to the Sports ministry that Hockey India remains the sole recognised body for running the sport in the country as it was satisfied with HI's compliance with its charter.

"We would not like to be seen as someone who is interfering in the functioning of the sports federations. They should decide themselves. As far as interest of hockey is concerned, we have good people on both the sides and when we decide to bring on board good people from both the sides for a discussion, I am confident that on most of the decisions they will express their unanimity," he said.

"For Azlan Shah, the Supreme Court had asked us to go by Hockey India's proposal. So HI selected the team, selected the core probables. We ourselves don't like to interfere in the working of sports federations. People often criticise us but we are just doing our work," he added.On the need for a foreign coach after India's disastrous performance in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh (Malaysia), where it finished sixth among seven countries, Maken said the sports ministry is willing to appoint a foreign expert for the men's team if HI and the players want.

At present, Pargat Singh heads a five-member committee appointed by HI to identify a foreign coach before the important international assignments including men's Champions Trophy in December and the first Olympic qualifier in February at home.

The coaching and development committee comprises Olympians Col Balbir Singh, Pargat, Jagbir Singh, A B Subaiah and S S Grewal.

"As far as the talks for the hockey coach is concerned, Hockey India insisted on Harendra Singh and we appointed him as the coach. If the federation and the players want a foreign coach, we will have the foreign coach," he said.

"As far as budgetary constraint is concerned, we have increased the outer limit for foreign coach from USD 5000 to USD 7000 a month in a span of just four months. So this is a big jump. We have earmarked Rs 258.39 crore for London Olympics, so how does it matter if we spend Rs 50-60 lakh or Rs one or two crore on our national game. Budget is not an issue. It's just that both HI and IHF have to decide and come on board whether they want a good foreign coach or not," Maken added.

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