The deadline drama continues. Leandro Negre's FIH has set another one for the hockey factions to merge. The whole exercise is sickening.
The secrecy surrounding the arrival of the FIH team and the confabulations held needs a Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson duo to decipher. Lack of transparency triggers media speculation. Often they are contradictory and confusing.
How can the factions — Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation — arrive at a settlement in the next week when the meeting point eluded them for years?
Filament of optimism
When reports surfaced that a six-member panel might mitigate the inscrutable negativism there was a filament of optimism.
It was viewed as a step towards understanding and reconciliation.
The process of a debate was delayed by the postponement of Leandro's visit soon after the FIH Executive meeting at Barcelona. But why his eventual arrival was kept under wraps is beyond comprehension.
After all, every one, from the media to the fraternity of officials, players and the enthusiasts, is keen to see the wrangle between the groups end once and for all.
There were indications that a solution was being hammered out. But any official announcement failed to emerge.
Subsequently, it was stated that the FIH has set out another deadline, presumably for the parties involved to have a more detailed discussion.
If reports of a new entity emerging in place of HI and the IHF are true then this development requires to be applauded.
This will help sink a lot of grey areas in the equations between the two fighting factions. True, the whole process has to begin afresh. Given the postures and thinking of those involved, it will again be a time-consuming exercise. The possibility of new hurdles coming in the way cannot be ruled out.
Judging from the happenings in the last two years the damage caused to the sport has been devastating.
A success here and there may be cited as rewarding. But that is a mere hallucination.
The enormity of the ruptures at the grass-roots is difficult to quantify. The segregation of players falling under HI and IHF dispensations has played havoc with the psyche of the practitioners at the state and district levels.
There is no effective structure to identify and nurture talent with an eye on building up the national pool at all levels.
Those fighting to occupy places in the administrative apparatus should give a thought to the harm they have caused, or causing, to the all round development.
Development is the soul and substance for any federation seeking to administer a discipline that has a rich history and following.
The effort at energising a unit with a new nomenclature harmonising a set of officials from both factions is a prescription that needs to be studied in depth.
It may well be the best solution under the present impasse. This must be taken to the stage of realisation by Sports Ministry, Indian Olympic Association and FIH if growth is not stunted any further.
If the well-being of Indian hockey is the motto of those professing to serve the administration then there is little time to waste from now on.
Keywords: Indian hockey team