Ajay Maken asks HI, IHF to agree to merge by July 25

Posted By: Biswajeet Panda
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Ajay Maken
New Delhi, Jul 21: Government of India has issued an ultimatum to Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation to merge by Jul 25, failing which the sports ministry will act as it wishes and inform the Supreme Court about it.

Speaking at a press conference, sports minister Ajay Maken said, "I will not wait beyond July 25. We have called for a meeting with HI and IHF on July 25. A decision would certainly come out by then."

He added, "We are calling the two bodies to give it a last try on merger but this will be the last meeting. If nothing comes out of it, then we will take a decision on our own and inform the Supreme Court."

When enquired as to why did the last merger talks fail, the sports minster said, "I was really hopeful that the merger would be successful. Unfortunately, it seems that inflated egos have taken over the national interest and the national game."

It can be recalled that last week, despite a series of meetings in the presence of sports ministry officials, the merger talks between the HI and the IHF failed to arrive at any conclusion.

Informing that the sports ministry is giving one last chance to both the organisations to come forward and settle their disputes, Maken said, "On Saturday, Mr RK Shetty talked to joint secretary (sports) Injeti Srinivas and myself. He has also written a lengthy email to the secretary, joint secretary and myself, where he has said that he would like to come again and discuss some finer points."

He added, "He is also hopeful that we will be able to achieve what we wanted as far as good relations between the two warring bodies are concerned."

Maken elaborated, "So we will give it a last try since Shetty has himself written to us. But this will be the last time. We really want both HI and IHF to come together. We have given them enough opportunities, perhaps never in the past has the sports ministry played such a proactive role."

The sports minister also saw no reason as to why the HI and the IHF cannot come together and said, "We don't have differences in many aspects. We will continue with the talks. Sometimes it happens that egos clash but there is nothing much beyond that. We have talked about KPS Gill being made the lifetime patron, RK Shetty to be made the senior vice-president and have equal number of representatives from both the sides."

He added, "We have also said that the states which have more presence of IHF will be given importance. Even the issue of the name for the new body has been sorted out. No major differences have emerged. I am sure we would be able to sort out the issue. So I see no major reason why merger cannot take place."

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