The international hockey federation (FIH) has shot down the Sports Ministry’s advice to Hockey India to appoint a retired judge as returning officer for the Feb 7 elections. FIH vice-president, Antonio von Ondarza, observer for HI elections, has endorsed the appointment of Wrestling Federation of India president, G.S. Mander to conduct the HI elections.
“The FIH preferred a neutral candidate to come from another federation with experience in sports affairs,” said Von Ondarza in an email to director, sports, Deepika Kachhal, that HI released to the media on Wednesday.
Von Ondarza, in the email sent on Tuesday, said he had informed the FIH’s preference for a returning officer with sports background to conduct the elections when joint secretary, sports, Injeti Srinivas, during a recent meeting, said that the Ministry preferred a retired High Court or district judge.
“FIH is totally convinced of the capacity of the returning officer who will receive nominations, monitor elections to be held by secret ballot and thus are going to be fair and transparent.”
Claiming that Mander was “an excellent candidate to be the returning officer for the upcoming elections”, Von Ondarza said this was also the view of the Hockey India Board, IOA and FIH.
Von Ondarza claimed the government observer, S.K. Mendiratta, was present at the meeting at which Mander accepted the responsibility, obliquely pulling up the government observer for not raising his objections at that time.