Under pressure from the Sports Ministry, Hockey India has effected a change at the top with president Mohd. Mushtaq Ahmad resigning and Gyanendro Ningombam being nominated to the post.

Mushtaq had resigned on July 7 citing ‘personal and family commitments’ which was accepted at an Emergent Executive Board meeting on Friday. Senior vice-president Ningombam was nominated as the officiating president under Rule 4.6 of the Hockey India constitution.

“Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed across India, HI EB is unable to call a Congress meeting of its Member Units to conduct fresh elections for the post. HI EB has appointed Gyanendro Ningombam as Officiating President with immediate effect… until elections to this post can be called,” HI secretary Rajinder Singh wrote to the ministry.

The Ministry had insisted on HI holding fresh elections for the remaining term (till 2022) for the post by September 30 but with this move, the way forward for HI remains to be seen.

Mushtaq had been elected president in October 2018 but the decision was questioned by the ministry in February 2019, terming it a violation of the tenure cap guidelines under the 2011 Sports Code. Mushtaq had been treasurer of HI from 2010-14 and secretary from 2014-18. The Code allows three terms for the president of a Federation and two for other office-bearers.

HI had countered that it was not a recognised federation in 2010 and the Code could not be applied retrospectively.

The ministry, however, ruled that the guidelines “are applied at the time of granting recognition (in February 2014) and accordingly the tenure of office-bearer at the time of recognition is considered while examining the eligibility.”

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