The proposed merger between the two federations running the national game has been put on hold with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) asking for more time before it can respond to the sports ministry’s proposals.The government had mooted a formula whereby the strength of Hockey India’s executive board was to be raised from 17 to 33 to accommodate IHF members, with the working committee also expanded to comprise five individuals.However, IHF president RK Shetty said his federation needed more time to discuss it among the members and has asked for eight more days to reply to the sports ministry’s proposals.”This issue has been hanging fire for three years and one cannot expect it to be resolved in a couple of days,” Shetty told MAIL TODAY on Tuesday.”Therefore, we have written back to the ministry and asked for seven more days to think about the matter.””We will only be able to make a detailed response to your proposal after we analyse the impact of each point and study the pros and cons of it. We anticipate that a diligent and responsible process will take a week and we accordingly request you to grant us time till June 21 to revert to you,” read Shetty’s letter to sports minister Ajay Maken.Hockey India does not have too many objections to the government proposals, and secretary general Narinder Batra has sent a point-by-point response to the 10 clauses.”I would not want to divulge too much about our response, but we have sent our reply within the stipulated time,” Batra told MAIL TODAY. Maken termed the development as positive and said that the acceptance of the ministry’s proposal by Hockey India and the positive tone and tenor of IHF gave him hope that the two bodies will come together at the earliest in the interest of the game.advertisementShetty said he will have to take all the other IHF office-bearers, including former president KPS Gill, on board before submitting an official response.Even if there is a merger between the two bodies at the national level, the bigger concern about the state units remains.”What happens if there are problems at the state level? There are so many court cases pending throughout the country,” the IHF president said.Talks between the two rival federations are also essential before they join hands.”We had a few discussions with Hockey India earlier also, but they never advanced past the initial stages.” Gill, who is now an advisor in the IHF, is proposed to be made the life patron, according to the ministry’s plan.”He has kept IHF alive for the last three years and spent his own time and money in court battles. I have discussed the proposals with him and he agrees with my views,” Shetty added.