Veteran sports administrator Narinder Batra on Monday resigned as President of International Hockey Federation (FIH) and also gave up his membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Batra ceased to be President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) when the Delhi High Court, on May 25, struck down the post of ‘Life member’ in Hockey India, courtesy which he had contested the IOA elections and won back in 2017.
In three separate handwritten notes, Batra officially tendered his resignations from the IOA, IOC and FIH respectively. In all the letters, he cited “personal reasons” behind his decisions.
“Due to personal reasons I submit my resignation from the post of President FIH,” Batra wrote to the Executive Board of FIH.
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.
The Delhi High Court’s refusal to stay his appeal before a double bench might have been the trigger for Batra’s resignations. But the matter is listed for normal hearing on July 26.
After he was removed by the High Court, Batra had issued a statement, announcing his decision not to contest the upcoming IOA elections, instead 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.
Batra became president of FIH in 2016 and reclaimed the position last year for a second term.
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 RM Lodha, a development which had led to demands of his resignation from the IOA top job.
In April, the CBI had also initiated a preliminary inquiry against Batra for alleged misappropriation of public funds.