Batra’s election as FIH president was illegal: IOA VP writes to IOC

IOA vice president Mittal also alleges that Batra had given ‘false declarations to the IOA’ while running for the post of president of India’s National Olympic Committee.

Narinder Batra is the head of the International Hockey Federation and Indian Olympic Association.   -  PTI Photo

The internal politics in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has now gone international. IOA vice-president Sudhanshu Mittal has written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) alleging irregularities and false declarations by IOA president Narinder Batra in his election to the post.

"Reference is given to Article 10.3 of the Constitution of the IOA (which states) ‘...The representatives nominated by each unit must be members of the executive bodies of such units.’ Mr. Narinder Batra was a representative on behalf of Hockey India in the December 2017 elections of the IOA and voted as a representative on behalf of Hockey India. Since he had already resigned from any office bearer’s post with Hockey India in order to comply with the FIH Statute, there is no possible way that he could be in the executive committee of Hockey India, unless Mr. Narinder Batra has given false declarations and information to the FIH and to everyone else that he has resigned from Hockey India,” Mittal has written.

READ | Batra forms panel to nominate observers for IOA elections

The squabbling within the IOA has been on for a while now with a series of accusatory mails being exchanged between various factions. This is the first time, however, that the matter has been taken to the IOC. Batra has countered the charge saying he would respond after resuming office later this month (he is currently on home quarantine). Interestingly, it may be noted that Batra became IOA president in 2017 after his nomination for the post was cleared by the then election commission.

However, according to Mittal’s letter, it is his inclusion in the electoral college as a Hockey India executive board member that is under scrutiny. It may be remembered that Batra had been elected president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on November 12, 2016 and, as required by FIH rules, resigned as Hockey India president two weeks later. That decision was ratified in the Hockey India Congress on July 25, 2017.

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