Hockey India has been placed under a Committee of Administrators after the Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, observed that the national sports federation had violated the sports code through the involvement of Indian Olympic Committee president Narinder Batra.
This comes just over a week after the All India Football Federation was placed under CoA control.
Batra, a former president of Hockey India, has been known to keep strict tabs on the organisation despite moving on to become IOA president and also president of the International Hockey Federation.
His influence was cemented as he was appointed as life member of Hockey India, a move which prompted 1975 hockey World Cup winner Aslam Sher Khan to file a petition in the High Court.
The HC maintained that Batra’s life membership and HI CEO Elena Norman’s post was illegal.
“It would be in the public interest that (Hockey India’s) affairs be put in the hands of a Committee of Administrators as has been directed by the Supreme Court on 18th May, 2022, in the case of another NSF in All India Football Federation,” read the order by the HC bench of Justices Najmi Wajiri and Swarana Kanta Sharma, as reported by PTI.
“The administrative set up of (Hockey India) is, erroneously or illegally constituted because of the Life President and Life Members.
“The Government of India cannot grant recognition to a NSF whose constitution is not in consonance with the Sports Code. The posts of Life President, Life Member in the NSF are illegal so is the post of CEO in the Managing Committee. These posts are struck-down.”
The three-member CoA will be headed by former Supreme Court Judge AR Dave, along with former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi – both are also on the CoA that will handle the AIFF.
Additionally, former national team captain Zafar Iqbal will be present in the CoA.
On Wednesday, as reported by TOI, Batra stepped down from his position as IOA chief, and was replaced by All India Tennis Association vice-president Anil Khanna.
“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 requires more time for all these activities,” Batra said in a statement.
“Consequently, I’ve decided to not run for a further term as President of the Indian Olympic Association,” he added.
Last month, Batra had come under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation, who set up an inquiry after it emerged that Batra had allegedly taken Rs 35 lakh of Hockey India funds for personal use.
Earlier in February, after the men’s national hockey team returned from the FIH Pro League matches in South Africa – winning three of their four matches – Batra wrote to HI asking them to report to him about why the team had put up an “unacceptable” performance.
“Definitely, it is a conflict of interest by Batra,” 1975 World Cup winner Aslam Sher Khan had said to PTI. “He is the FIH president and being in that post, he can in no way interfere in the affairs of a national federation.”
In February, the Delhi HC court had also placed the Table Tennis Federation of India under CoA control after the court found that the NSF had mishandled Manika Batra’s allegations of being approached by a national coach to fix a match.