Sports Ministry suspends newly elected body of Wrestling Federation of India

New Delhi: Newly elected body appears to be in complete control of former office bearers, says Ministry

BY | Sunday, 24 December, 2023
Ex president of WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (L) and new president Sanjay Kumar Singh (R)

The Ministry of Sports on Sunday suspended the newly elected body of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) led by Sanjay Kumar Singh for “blatant disregard for the established legal and procedural norms.”

The Executive Committee of WFI was elected on 21st December 2023 after a tumultuous year marked by protests against the former president and Uttar Pradesh MP, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is accused of sexually assaulting women wrestlers. The election did not give any relieve to the protesting wrestlers as the new President Sanjay Kumar Singh is a close aide of the Brij Bhushan.

Since the election, Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik retired from wrestling and star wrestler Bajrang Punia left his Padma Shri medal outside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence in New Delhi.

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“WFI has been instructed to suspend all its activities till further orders,” the Sports Ministry stated, citing that WFI’s announcement to hold the U-15 and U-20 nationals for Wrestling before the end of 2023, that has just seven days to go, violating both the Wrestling Federation of India constitutional provisions and the National Sports Development Code.

The announcement is hasty, it said, and does not give sufficient time to wrestlers. The Ministry also said that the Secretary General of WFI, who is responsible for carrying out the general business of the Federation, keeping the minutes of the meetings, maintaining all the records of the Federation, calling the meetings of the General Council and the Executive Committee, does not seem to be involved in the meeting that resolved to conduct the U-15 and U-20 nationals.

“Newly elected body appears to be in complete control of former office bearers in complete disregard to the Sports Code,” the Ministry said pointing out the dominance of ousted former president Brij Bhushan. The suspension order also said that the business of the Federation was being run from the premises controlled by former office bearers, which is also alleged premises wherein sexual harassment of the players have been alleged and present the court is hearing the matter.

Further the Ministry said that “the actions smack of complete arbitrariness on part of the President” and against the settled principles of good governance and devoid of transparency and due process that are for building trust among athletes, stakeholders, and the public.

The Ministry of Sports also mentioned that the United World Wrestling the international body for wrestling, is yet to issue official communication lifting the suspension of Wrestling Federation of India. UWW suspended WFI in August 2023.

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