The International Hockey Federation (FIH), field hockey’s world governing body, has elected Macau’s Tayyab Ikram as its new president.

Ikram, the chief executive of the Asian Hockey Federation, was elected by the FIH congress on Saturday (November 5) after receiving 79 of the 126 votes, beating Belgium’s Marc Coudron.

The new president will serve a two-year term to complete the mandate of previous FIH president Narinda Batra who resigned in July.

Egypt’s Seif Ahmed, president of the African Hockey Federation, had been serving as acting FIH president following Batra’s departure.

Batra cited “personal reasons” for his decision to step down only a year after being re-elected.

He was first elected as FIH president in 2016, with his first term being extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic delaying elections until last year. He won a second term after also beating Coudron by two votes in May 2021.

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His resignation from the FIH came after the 65-year-old had already announced he would step down as head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) after being found guilty of illegal practices while president of governing body Hockey India.

Ikram, who was an FIH executive board member, is keen to use his term to grow the federation’s revenues and believes it is on a sound financial footing after a difficult period in recent years.

He told “It’s clear that the overall lack of financial resources impacts negatively the expansion of hockey. However, since we have the potential to grow our sport – in terms of participation but also fanbase – therefore we have the potential to grow our resources accordingly.

“This has absolute priority. After a couple of really challenging years, the FIH finances are stable again. So, I’m positive that we can continue improving on this side. I feel that our sport is not big enough to be fragmented when it comes to income generation. We have to look for synergies within our global hockey community. I’m convinced we would all benefit from that.”

Ikram has also made it a priority to retain field hockey’s status as an Olympic sport.

He added: “This has to be one of our top priorities, always. Being an Olympic sport gives hockey a dimension – as well as financial resources – which are essential for the growth of our sport.

“It goes without saying that I will use all my knowledge and experience of the IOC – Thomas Bach was the first one to call me after my election as new FIH president – and the Olympic movement at large to not only maintain but also reinforce our position with the Olympic family. Being an Olympic sport is a tremendous help to reach our growth potential.”

Meanwhile, Maureen Craig-Rousseau (Trinidad and Tobago) and Elizabeth Safoa King (Ghana) were also re-elected to the FIH executive board (EB), while Hiroya Anzai (Japan), Piotr Wilkonski (Poland) and Deon Morgan (South Africa) were elected for the first time as members.

Morgan’s term of office will be two years, to take over the remainder of Ikram’s term. The mandates of the other EB members who were elected or re-elected will run until the 2026 FIH congress.  

Among the major events in Ikram’s tenure will be the next FIH Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in India which is due to be held from January 13 to 29, 2023.