Narinder Batra has resigned as president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), field hockey’s world governing body, and as head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), citing “personal reasons” for his decision to step down.

Batra hand-wrote resignation letters to the FIH, IOA, and the International Olympic Committee, which were shared with Indian media outlets.

In his letter to the FIH, he said: “Due to personal reasons, I submit my resignation from the post of president for which I was elected in 2017. Thank you for your support and guidance.”

Batra was re-elected FIH president in May last year, beating challenger Marc Coudron by just two votes.

The moves come after the 65-year-old already announced his resignation as IOA leader at the end of his current term, stating he would not contest this year’s elections after being found guilty of illegal practices while president of governing body Hockey India.

Elections were due to take place in December last year but were delayed due to the court case, which took place following a petition from former Indian hockey player Aslam Sher Khan who challenged the appointment of Batra as a life member of Hockey India.

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Last month (June), Batra was ordered to stop functioning as IOA president by the Delhi High Court after it ruled his positions as ‘life member’ and ‘life president’ of Hockey India were illegal as they were not within the guidelines of the National Sports Code and Olympic Charter.

The court decision forced Batra to step down from his role at the IOA with Anil Khanna becoming acting president. The court also ruled in favor of placing a three-member committee of administrators to run Hockey India’s day-to-day affairs.

Batra’s resignation also came after Australian Olympic medalist Terry Walsh started a petition demanding Batra’s removal as president of the FIH on Friday (July 15).

On change.org, Walsh said: “Following the recent finding in the High Court of Delhi against FIH president Narinder Batra, we the undersigned believe that his position as head of the sport of international hockey is now untenable.

“There have been other incidents that have resulted in Mr. Batra’s censure during his time as president, but this ruling in the High Court has found him guilty of illegal practices and brought the sport into disrepute.

“More importantly at a time when the president of any sporing organization must be seen as being totally impartial, the findings of the court have confirmed that he has still ad involvement in hockey in India.”

Meanwhile, the FIH has awarded South Africa hosting rights to next year’s twice postponed Men’s Indoor Hockey World Cup.

The sixth edition of the World Cup was originally scheduled to be played in February 2021 in Liege, Belgium but was initially postponed by a year due to Covid-19 concerns in the host country.

However, a month before the start of the tournament from February 2 to 6 this year, the FIH and Hockey Belgium decided to call off the event after levels of infections started to rise in the country.

During a meeting on the weekend (July 16) in Spain, the FIH Executive Board confirmed the next edition of the tournament will now be staged in Pretoria, South Africa, from February 5 to 11, 2023 – the first since Berlin, Germany in 2018.

Twelve men’s and women’s teams are set to take part in the world’s flagship indoor hockey event.

The 2022 Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup, co-hosted by Terrassa, Spain, and Amstelveen, the Netherlands concluded over the weekend (July 17), with the Netherlands crowned champions.