By LAURENT TOUSSAINT
Ahe day after the final of the Women’s World Cup won by the Netherlands in Terrassa, the Indian Narinder Batra resigned as president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), citing personal reasons. He also stepped down as head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) with immediate effect. Resignation letters, shared this morning by various Indian media, were simultaneously sent to the FIH, the IOA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – of which he was a member linked to his IAO presidency – have been shared by the Indian media. In these letters, the strongman of world hockey (65) cites “personal reasons” in all three cases and he thanks the organizations for their “support and advice”.
Narinder Batra has led the Indian Olympic Committee since 2017 and new elections were due to be held, last December, but these were canceled due to a legal action in which it is claimed that the IOA statutes are not in accordance with the National Sports Code and the Olympic Charter. The New Delhi High Court even ruled last month that Batra should cease acting as IOA president in a case related to his controversial position as a life member of Hockey India, the Indian Federation hockey.
Appointed for the first time, in 2016, at the head of the FIH, his first mandate had been extended due to the health crisis which had canceled the elections. Batra was then re-elected in May last year, beating Marc Coudron by just two votes. An election which had, at the time, many comments and questions This second term was due to expire in 2024.
In recent months, Batra’s tenures as head of the IOA and the FIH have been increasingly challenged and accusations have become clearer as to why he was jeopardizing the organizations by simultaneously leading them. India and in Lausanne, headquarters of the Hockey Federation. His position was even becoming more and more untenable as the weeks went by.
This noon, the FIH published a press release in which it explains that the Executive Committee will meet as soon as possible to appoint a person who will occupy the position until the next elections which will be held during the next congress which will be held virtually, on 4 and November 5. Details of these will be confirmed in the coming weeks.