Indian Olympic President Narinder Batra Says He Will Not Run For Second Term
Narinder Batra said in a statement that his "role as President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) requires more time"
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra on Wednesday announced that he will not seek re-election for the top job after the Delhi High court declared the posts he held in Hockey India as "illegal". Batra had filed his nomination for the IOA president's post in 2017 as a representative (life member) of Hockey India and won the election. But the Delhi HC on Wednesday declared the position Batra had held in HI as "illegal" since it was not in consonance with the National Sports Code. "The HC said the position Batra had held in Hockey India was illegal," advocate Anil Soni told PTI when asked about the High Court verdict.
Former India hockey player and a member of the 1975 World Cup-winning team, Aslam Sher Khan had filed a petition in the court, challenging Batra's appointment as life member of Hockey India.
An IOA source said that Batra, while filing his nomination papers for the 2017 elections, was included in the electoral college as Hockey India life member.
Within hours of the Delhi HC decision, Batra issued a statement, saying that he will not run for his second term when the IOA elections are held.
Batra did not mention in the statement whether he has resigned as IOA president. He simply said he needs to spend more time as head of International Hockey Federation.
The IOA elections, which were due to be held in December last year, have been kept in abeyance due to another pending court case.
Batra's decision means that his membership of International Olympic Committee will also come to an end as the coveted position was linked to his IOA presidency.
Batra was made an IOC member in 2019.
"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 said in the statement.
"Consequently, I've decided to not run for a further term as President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
"I feel that the time has come for me to leave this role to someone coming with a fresh mind and new ideas to take Indian sports to much much greater heights and also go all out to work to get 2036 Summer Olympics in India." In 2020, IOA vice-president Sudhanshu Mittal had written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), alleging irregularities and false declarations by Batra in his election to the top post.
"The representatives nominated by each unit must be members of executive bodies of such units. 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," Mittal had then written to the IOC.
"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 Narinder Batra has given false declarations and information to the FIH and to everyone else that he has resigned from Hockey India." Batra's reign has been a controversial one due to the simmering tension between the factions led by him and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.
Recently, Batra had tendered an apology after a past social media outburst against former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha caught up with him, a development which has led to demands of his resignation from the IOA top job.
Last month, the CBI had also initiated a preliminary inquiry against Batra for alleged misappropriation of public funds.