November 13 - Talks have taken place today between India's Sports Minister M.S Gill and Antonio von Ondarza (pictured), vice-president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), to try to resolve a row over the future organisation of the sport there.


Suresh Kalmadi, the President of the Indian Olympic Association, is also due to meet von Ondarza for a crucial meeting which was called after Hockey India postponed elections due to take place on November 18, which defied an order from the FIH.


The FIH had originally wanted elections held by October and had warned that if they did not take place India faced the prospect of being banned from the 2010 World Cup, which is being held in New Delhi.


Gill said: "The Ministry kept on asking them [HI] for election but I came to know that it has been postponed.


"I met the FIH vice president today and he is meeting Kalmadi also.


"I spoke to Kalmadi as well this morning and discussed a number of issues, including hockey.


"We want an early election but it has to be crystal clear, clean and acceptable to the country as fair.


"That is why apart from the FIH observer, we have appointed S.K Mendiratta, an expert Election Commission official, as the Government observer for the election."


The IOA announced the formation of a unified body in June after the FIH threatened to take the World Cup away from them if the country did not have a single national association governing both the men's and women's game.


But several leading officials in India are upset and have claimed that the IOA acted undemocratically by disbanding national and regional organisations to form HI.


Gill said: "My view is that Mr Kalmadi must be discussing the issue with the FIH official and if they get a short extension from the FIH in order to complete the process, we will go along with that and support it.


"Both I and the FIH vice-president are of the view that the process must be complete well before next year's World Cup and we will assist in every way to see that it is done.


"Mr Kalmadi has assured me that he would personally look after it so that the thing gets done.


"When [FIH] President Leandro Negre came here last year, we had a detailed discussion.


"He had two requests - they wanted a single Hockey India that has become the pattern of the world and second, while an ad-hoc committee may be appointed by IOA, for a short while but a proper, clean election must be held as early as possible before the 2010 World Cup.


"I agreed to both the ideas and our position remains the same."



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