The sports ministry’s proposal for merger of the two rival hockey federations is an offer that neither can refuse.IHF president RK Shetty with HI secretary Narinder Batra.With both Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) embroiled in a legal battle, sports minister Ajay Maken’s proposal to expand the former’s executive board to accommodate members of the rival body seems a move to placate both bodies.As a result, neither federation can afford to reject it outright.”It is an honest effort and a good initiative by the government,” Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told Mail Today on Monday, a day before the two federations have to submit their responses with the ministry.Batra does not see much wrong with what the ministry is proposing.”We have no objections to it and our response will be on the lines of the proposals forwarded by the sports minister. We have had discussions among ourselves and have also talked with people in the IHF as well,” he said.Batra said Hockey India was willing to do its bit for the game. “It is a positive development and we are ready for whatever is good for the game.” IHF president RK Shetty was not so forthcoming on the matter, but indicated that the move was a step in the right direction.”We also want a single body for hockey in India. It is a new step by the government and needs co-operation from all three sides for the best results,” Shetty told MAIL TODAY.advertisement”We are discussing the matter, but the proposal is demanding a lot from us, without promising much in return. Even the name of our federation will be taken away.”I can’t say much before we actually submit our response. It will not be a decision taken solely by me. All my colleagues will have to be consulted,” he added.The ministry has given only three days for the two federations to respond and the hurry may be necessitated to show the Supreme Court that it is working to break the impasse.If its proposal is accepted, it can bask in the glory of engineering a solution.Otherwise, it can report to the court that one (or both) federations played spoilsport. By mooting the proposal, the ministry has lobbed the ball back in the court of the two warring bodies.