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Wrestling Federation of India Faces Suspension by Sports Ministry for ‘Hasty’ Nationals Announcement

On the day of his election as president on December 21, 2023, Sanjay Kumar Singh, the newly-elected president of WFI, declared that the U-15 and U-20 nationals for Wrestling would be held in Nandini Nagar, Gonda (UP) before the end of the year.

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New Delhi, Dec 24 (The Street Press India) – On Sunday, the Sports Ministry decided to temporarily suspend the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) until further notice. This action was taken because the recently elected WFI made a quick announcement about organizing the U-15 and U-20 nationals. The ministry found fault with the hasty decision, stating that proper procedures weren’t followed, and wrestlers were not given enough notice to prepare.

Furthermore, the ministry emphasized that the new body was operating under the “complete control of former (WFI) office-bearers,” a situation deemed inconsistent with the National Sports Code.

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Elections for the Wrestling Federation of India took place on December 21, resulting in a significant victory for Sanjay Singh and his panel, who were aligned with former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. However, the Sports Ministry revealed that the new body failed to adhere to the WFI constitution. Consequently, the Federation has been suspended until further notice. A sports ministry official stated that WFI won’t handle daily wrestling activities and emphasized the importance of following due process and rules.

Bajrang Punia, a prominent wrestler, joined Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik in protesting against Brij Bhushan. In response to Sanjay Singh, a Brij Bhushan loyalist, becoming WFI President, Bajrang Punia returned his Padma Shri award in protest. Sakshi Malik also quit wrestling for the same reason. The WFI suspension was further explained, citing Sanjay Kumar Singh’s announcement on December 21, the day he was elected president, about organizing U-15 and U-20 nationals in Nandini Nagar, Gonda (UP) by the end of the year.

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The source criticized the announcement, stating, “This announcement is hasty, without giving sufficient notice to wrestlers who are to take part in the said nationals and without following the provisions of the constitution of WFI.”

The source further explained, “As per clause 3 (e) of preamble of constitution of WFI, object of the WFI, among others, is to arrange holding of Senior, Junior and Sub Junior National Championships as per UWW Rules at places selected by the Executive Committee”

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The source highlighted that the new body began operating from the same premises as the previous office-bearers, specifically Brij Bhushan’s official bungalow. Allegations of sexual harassment of players were reported in that location during the previous administration. The source expressed concern, stating, “Newly-elected body appears to be in complete control of former office-bearers in complete disregard to the Sports Code.”

“The business of the Federation is 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 (ly) the court is hearing the matter……….. The decisions made by the newly-elected executive body of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) demonstrate a blatant disregard for the established legal and procedural norms, violating both the WFI’s constitutional provisions and the National Sports Development Code,” the source said.

Olympic medallists Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, along with World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, have accused Brij Bhushan of sexual harassment, and the case is currently under review in the Delhi High Court. The source emphasized that the actions taken by the new body are inconsistent with the established norms of fair and transparent governance.

“The actions smack of complete arbitrariness on part of the President, which is against the settled principles of good governance and devoid of transparency and due process. Adherence to governance norms is vital for ensuring fair play, transparency and accountability. There are crucial to built trust among athletes, stakeholders, and the public,” said the source.

Furthermore, the source highlighted that the decision to hold the national championships should have been made in a procedural manner by informing the executive committee, a step that was not taken.

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Sk Sahiluddin
Sk Sahiluddin
Sk Sahiluddin is a seasoned journalist and media professional with a passion for delivering accurate and impactful news coverage to a global audience. As the Editor of The Street Press India, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the editorial direction and ensuring the highest journalistic standards are upheld.
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