A day after being asked by the Sports Ministry to step down from his post as President of Hockey India, Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad submitted a resignation letter doing so. The Ministry had asked for Ahmad’s demission citing that his 2018 election was in violation of the sports code guidelines.
In a July 6 letter addressed to HI Secretary General Rajinder Singh, the Ministry asked the federation “to conduct fresh elections for the post of president” by September 30 for the remaining term, that is, “upto 30.09.2022…”
“... the matter has been examined and it has been observed that Mushtaque Ahmad had earlier served as Treasurer in Hockey India from 2010-14 and Secretary General from 2014-18. The instant term 2018-2022 of Mushtaque as president is his third consecutive term as office bearer in HI,” the letter said.
According to the Sports Code (2011) an administrator cannot serve three consecutive terms as an office bearer in a National Sports Federation. A later amendment cites that a president can hold office for three terms.
This though isn’t the first time Mushtaque’s election has been questioned. In February 2019 a similar letter was written by the Sports Ministry to HI. In reply, Secretary General Rajinder Singh had said that since Hockey India was not recognised in 2010, the Ministry shouldn’t consider Mushtaque’s tenure as Treasurer as his first term.
In reply the ministry pointed out 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”.
“When HI accepted that decision of the government regarding age and tenure restrictions at the time of its initial recognition and abided by government guidelines, the contention that these guidelines apply only prospectively and to only recognised NSFs is not tenable,” the ministry had said in the letter dated February 13, 2019.
This latest Sports Ministry’s crackdown on Hockey India follows a PIL filed by Rahul Mehra asking for a probe into the way various sports bodies are run in the country. The petition was also at the centre of the Delhi High Court derecognising 54 federations last month. Hockey India was among them.
Read More | 54 Sports Federations Derecognised by Sports Ministry After Delhi High Court Order
In an emergency Executive board meeting held today Hockey India named Gyanendro Ningombam as the officiating President. Ningombam was appointed Senior Vice President in the 2018 elections where Mushtaque Ahmad had won his Presidency and became an Executive Board Member in 2014. He served as Manipur Hockey’s CEO from 2009-14 and was elected as Vice President of Manipur Hockey from 2014-18. Ningombam also served as the Editor of Meeyam, an evening daily newspaper in Manipur.
Unsurprisingly neither Ahmad’s resignation letter nor the Hockey India statement take cognizance or acknowledge the breach that may have caused his stepping down. Instead the statement says that Ahmad filed his resignation “due to his personal and family commitments”.
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