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Batra resigns as FIH president, gives up IOC membership

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 18, 2022 19:19 IST
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Narinder Batra's resignation from FIH has come as surprise

IMAGE: Veteran sports administrator Narinder Batra quit his positions as International Hockey Federation president and also gave up IOC membership, hours after CBI conducted multiple raids at his residence and offices in New Delhi and Jammu. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

Veteran sports administrator Narinder Batra resigned as president of International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Monday and also gave up his IOC membership, almost two months after a High Court ruling ended his reign as the Indian Olympic Association president.

Batra quit his positions, hours after CBI conducted multiple raids at his residence and offices in New Delhi and Jammu.

 

According CBI officials, searches were made in five locations across the two cities after filing an FIR against Batra in an alleged corruption case.     

In April, the CBI had initiated a preliminary inquiry against Batra for alleged misappropriation of Hockey India funds to the tune of Rs 35 lakh.

Batra ceased to be IOA president when the Delhi High Court, on May 25, struck down the post of Life member in Hockey India, courtesy which he had contested and won the IOA elections won back in 2017.

Batra had appealed against the ruling but a larger bench of the High Court had refused to stay the earlier order and listed the matter for the next hearing on July 26. The sports administrator also officially resigned as IOA president.  

In three separate handwritten notes, Batra officially tendered his resignation from the three positions. In all the letters, he cited "personal reasons" for his decision.

"Due to personal reasons I submit my resignation from the post of President FIH," Batra wrote to the Executive Board of FIH.

Batra became president of FIH in 2016 and reclaimed the position last year for a second term till 2024.

The FIH Board accepted the resignation and said an acting president will be appointed soon in Batra's place.

"As stipulated in the FIH Statutes (Article 7.4 a), the Executive Board shall appoint an acting President to hold office until the FIH Congress appoints a person to fill the vacancy. Therefore, a meeting of the EB will be organised as soon as possible," FIH said in a statement.

"In accordance with the same article, the next Presidential elections will take place during the upcoming FIH Congress which is planned to be held virtually on 4 and 5 November this year."

Batra's IOC membership was linked to IOA presidency but his resignation from FIH has come as surprise since in May he had said that he wants to focus on his job in the world hockey body.

After he was removed by the High Court, Batra had issued a statement, announcing his decision not to contest the upcoming IOA elections, saying that his focus will now completely shift to managing world hockey.

"At a time when world hockey is going through an essential development phase, with the promotion of Hockey5s, the creation of a new competition this year – the FIH Hockey Nations Cup – and the launch of fan-engaging platforms and activities, my role as President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) requires more time for all these activities," Batra had said.

"Consequently, I've decided to not run for a further term as president of the IOA."

The 65-year-old Batra took charge of the IOA for the first time in 2017 and was eligible to contest for re-election.

The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held as per schedule due to ongoing amendments in the election process.

Batra became an IOC member in 2019 and later went on to become a member of the Olympic Channel Commission.

The Delhi High Court ordered Batra to stop functioning as IOA president "in a contempt proceeding", filed by Olympian and hockey World Cup winner Aslam Sher Khan.

The court then appointed Anil Khanna, who held the post of Senior IOA vice-president, as the acting president of IOA.

Batra's reign has been marred by number of controversies.

In 2020, IOA vice-president Sudhanshu Mittal had written to the IOC, alleging irregularities and false declarations by Batra in his election to the top post.

Recently, Batra had apologised for a social media post against former Chief Justice of India Rajendra Mal Lodha, a development which had led to demands of his resignation from the IOA top job.

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