Gyanendro Ningombam has been elected, unopposed, as the president of Hockey India after Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad was asked to step down by the sports ministry for violating the National Sports Code’s tenure guidelines.Also Read - Indian Hockey Team Was Hugely Motivated Before Bronze-Medal Match: Simranjeet Singh

Mushtaque, though, will continue his association with the national hockey governing body after being elected as the senior vice-president. Also Read - Hockey India Can't Unilaterally Pull out of CWG, Must Consult With Government: Anurag Thakur

HI held its 10th Hockey India Congress & Elections on Friday in New Delhi. Access to the meeting was provided through video conferencing for member units who were unable to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions. Also Read - Nothing is Certain But Want to Stay With This Team Till Paris Olympics: PR Sreejesh

Ningombam thus becomes the first president from the North East region to spearhead HI.

He was appointed as “officiating president” after Mushtaque’s  resignation in July this year.

Ningombam has been elected for a term of two years and previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Manipur Hockey between 2009-2014, having been associated with the sport for over a decade.

Under Mushtaq, HI hosted several major international tournaments including the FIH Men’s World Cup in 2018.

Rajinder Singh, secretary general HI, congratulated Ningombam while also welcoming back Mushtaq.

“I congratulate Mr Gyanendro Ningombam on being Elected Unopposed as the President of Hockey India and welcome Mr Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad back into the Hockey India Executive Board in a new capacity as the Senior Vice President. Both Gyanendro and Mushtaque have several years of experience in hockey administration and I am confident their expertise will benefit the sport. Their advice will be instrumental in developing the sport further in the country and their leadership will help us work towards achieving our goals,” he said in a media release.

During the meeting, the planning for upcoming year was also discussed.

“Planning for the upcoming year 2021 was another key discussion point, where the status of competitions for all 4 National teams were discussed and the need for more International exposure for both the senior & Junior teams which will be key in the preparations leading up to the Olympics and Junior World Cups respectively. Our aim is to ensure we leave no stone unturned in the teams’ preparations for the Olympics & Junior World Cups,” Rajinder said.

Mushtaq served as the HI treasurer from 2010-14 before becoming secretary general in 2014 for a four-year term.

He was elected as President of HI for another four-year term in 2018.

The violation was brought to the notice of HI in 2019 but it contended that Mushtaq’s run as treasurer was before the body got ministry recognition and cannot be counted while deciding his tenure.

The contention was rejected by the ministry which then asked Mushtaq to step down, declaring his 2018 election as violative of the national sports code’s tenure guidelines and also directed the federation to conduct fresh election.

The national sports code does not permit three successive terms for an office-bearer.