It has become too difficult now: Hockey India’s long-serving CEO Norman resigns | Hockey - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

It has become too difficult now: Hockey India’s long-serving CEO Elena Norman resigns

Feb 27, 2024 10:01 PM IST

During Norman’s time, the Indian team clinched an Olympic medal, a bronze, to end a 41-year long wait while the women finished an unprecedented fourth.

Following a 13-year stint, Hockey India’s (HI) first chief executive officer (CEO) Elena Norman resigned on Tuesday owing to federation politics. “Of course, it’s disappointing and sad. But it has become too difficult (for me to continue) now. It is a good time to move on,” said the Australian. It has been reliably learnt that Norman did not receive her salary, already reduced last year, for the last three months and only got it last week after she sent a legal notice. Following the notice and HI’s legal counsel stepping in, the NSF finally released her remuneration.

Elena Norman resigned as CEO of Hockey India after nearly 13-year tenure(PTI)
Elena Norman resigned as CEO of Hockey India after nearly 13-year tenure(PTI)

Norman was hired as CEO in 2011 under Narinder Batra, who was then the secretary general of HI which had just been recognised as the sport’s governing body after years of administrative turmoil in the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), formerly the governing body of hockey in India.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

She had a smooth run under Batra, who was HI president from 2014-16 after which he became the International Hockey Federation (FIH) president in 2016 and also the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president in 2017.

But following a court case filed by 1975 World Cup-winner Aslam Sher Khan pertaining to administrative issues of HI under Batra and Norman, Batra resigned from FIH, IOA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2022 which led to HI elections where former India skipper Dilip Tirkey and Bhola Nath Singh were elected as president and secretary general. While Norman has had the support of Tirkey, it has not been the same from other sections of HI.

“There are two factions in HI and they think and operate differently and that’s just made it difficult for me to function. From that perspective it doesn’t make sense. You keep putting yourself under pressure. It is a decision I haven’t taken lightly. It is something I have been thinking of for a long time,” said Norman, whose last working day at HI will be Thursday following which she will be returning to Australia.

While the issues had been ongoing for some time, the final nail in the coffin was Norman not receiving her salary. “I would like to express my gratitude for Elena’s time and dedication. Not only as the President of Hockey India but also as a former player and avid hockey enthusiast, I want to formally acknowledge and extend my sincere gratitude for her remarkable contributions over the last 12-13 years," said Tirkey.

While Norman had explained her reasons to the HI Executive Board (EB), Tirkey also sent a mail to the EB elucidating that she was finding it difficult to work given the circumstances.

“Her dedication and efforts have played a pivotal role in propelling Hockey India and Indian hockey to the commendable position they hold today. I wish her great success in all her future endeavours."

Norman’s resignation comes four days after Janneke Schopman put down her papers as chief coach of the Indian women’s team which failed to qualify for Paris 2024. The Dutch woman had also cited that she was supported by Tirkey and Norman but not by others in HI.

During Norman’s time as CEO, the Indian men’s team clinched an Olympic medal, a bronze, to end a 41-year long wait while the women finished an unprecedented fourth. Under her leadership, HI hosted two consecutive editions of men's World Cup in 2018 and 2023, two Junior Men's World Cup in 2016 and 2021 and five editions of Hockey India League (HIL).

During her tenure, HI also hosted multiple events like Champions Trophy and World League Finals in 2015 and 2017, Olympic Qualifiers in 2019 and 2024 as well as Pro League.

Norman was also at the forefront of bringing women's hockey to limelight, providing them equal facilities as men including cash awards recognising standout performances in international events through HI Annual Awards. She was particularly instrumental in the success of the women's team that qualified for Rio 2016, a first Olympic qualification in 36 years.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    From badminton to cricket, Sandip Sikdar writes on many sporting disciplines. He has the experience of working in digital, news agency as well as print organisations. Motorsport remains his first love.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, April 13, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On