Just two days are left for its start but the World Series Hockey continues to remain in a limbo as the FIH on Monday said it cannot give sanction to the lucrative league until the two warring factions -- Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation -- reach an agreement.
While appreciating the need for a professional league in the country, FIH president Leandro Negre gave both Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation one month's time to resolve their issues and unite.
"We are acting as a mediator between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation. We are listening to both the sides and trying to find a solution. We tried our best to reach an agreement and had a very good discussions with both parties," said Negre, who met both Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation office bearers during the just-concluded London Olympic qualifier in New Delhi.
"We were very close to reaching a solution but there are very small disputes which need to be sorted out. So, we have given both the parties one month's time to come together," he said.
"But till an agreement is reached, WSH remains an unsanctioned event for us. They still have one month to find a solution and the FIH will do its best to settle the problem," Negre reiterated.
Negre said they are not against WSH but the tournament should be held under Hockey India's aegis to get recognition.
"We are not against the concept of WSH. There is need for a strong professional league in India. But we can only sanction tournaments (domestic or international) organised by Hockey India as FIH doesn't recognise Indian Hockey Federation," he maintained.
The FIH also left the ball in the players' court when asked whether they will impose sanctions on those participating in WSH.
"FIH is not here to sanction players. The FIH is always there for players, officials and umpires. We don't like to sanction anyone. If a player decides to play in the WSH, he is
free. But problems will arise if Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation fail to reach an agreement in a month's time," Negre said.
"The FIH is committed to develop and promote hockey in India."
However, it has been learnt that all the 18 players, who were part of the victorious London Olympic Qualifier-winning Indian team, have decided to stay away from the contentious league as they don't want to risk their dream of playing in the quadrennial extravaganza in July-August this year.
The players' decision was also influenced by the windfall which started to pour in after India's thumping 8-1 win over France in the final of the qualifiers last night that booked ticket to London.
Apart from the national federation, various state governments have announced huge cash rewards for the players.