Served with an ultimatum to merge or face consequences, the warring Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation on Monday agreed to jointly work together under a temporary arrangement for the betterment of the game without forming a unified body.
After a marathon eight-and-half-hours meeting between Hockey India, IHF and Sports Ministry officials, it was agreed that the two bodies will work under an arrangement that will continue till December 2012. However, there was no merger between the two bodies.
In what is being interpreted as a breakthrough of sorts, the two factions agreed to jointly work on four aspects -- organising National Championships, preparation of national teams and selection of national teams and participation in international tournaments.
Under the arrangement, there will be a joint Executive Committee of 39 members and a joint Working Committee of eight members, which will take final decisions.
Hockey India will have 20 members in the 39-member Executive Committee while the remaining 19 will be from the IHF.
"The decisions will be taken by the Working Committee which will have eight members -- four each from HI and IHF. There will be a chairman and co-chairman of the working committee, one each from HI and IHF. The chairman and the co-chairman will have equal powers," HI's General Secretary Narendra Batra said.
Since HI is recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), it will be responsible for any communication to the world body after a decision is taken by the joint Working Committee.
IHF president R K Shetty and Batra jointly addressed the media, saying that they were happy with the discussions and arrangements.
"The discussions were fruitful. We expect a robust administration now with both bodies coming together on core issues," Shetty said.
"Me and Batra are hopeful. We hope we will have a good working relationship during this period and contribute to the development of hockey," he said.
"We are also grateful to the Sports Ministry and the minister for the efforts they have put in," Shetty said.
Batra, on his part, said neither HI nor IHF will be responsible for the contractual obligations of the other party.
"We all have to make adjustments and I believe if we are honest in our intentions we will be able to do good work. The main modality of the arrangement is that HI's contractual obligations on any matter, financial or otherwise, will not lie on the IHF. It is vice versa for IHF," Batra said.
The Sports Ministry had called a meeting on Monday with the ultimatum that the two warring bodies either merge or it will take its own decision and inform the Supreme Court accordingly.
The two bodies had several rounds of meetings in the past few months but had failed to come to an agreement on the merger issue.