Wrestling Federation of India
Wrestling Federation of India

Over interference concerns, UWW threatens to re-impose suspension on WFI ; says athletes could be suspended this time

The letter written to the national sports federation by UWW said the suspension would apply to the final Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in May.

CHENNAI: The long pending dispute between the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and the sports ministry has been casting serious doubt on Indian wrestlers' participation in the upcoming World Olympic Games Qualifier in Istanbul, Turkey from May 9 to 12.

Expressing grave concerns over interference of the ministry in the WFI's affairs, the United World Wrestling (UWW) threatened that it would re-impose a temporary ban on the federation and this time even the athletes would be suspended.

The letter written to the national sports federation said the suspension would apply to the final Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in May.

"We have been informed that the Wrestling Federation of India is once again threatened by your Ministry of Sports with the imposition of an ad-hoc committee to oversee its affairs," read the letter addressed to the WFI president Sanjay Kumar Singh.

Adding further the letter said, "Besides our lassitude for this additional affair impacting your federation and its members, we would like to reiterate UWW’s determination to uphold the principle of autonomy and independence of its national federations in accordance with the UWW Statutes and the Olympic Charter."

Going a step further, the world body said that even athletes will come under suspension this time which could affect their participation in the last Olympic qualifier. "In case any decision or order should be made against your federation, and a third party be designated to run the daily affairs of our sport in India in violation of the UWW Statutes, UWW would have no other option than to re-impose a temporary suspension of your federation until further notice, and which, this time, could maybe include your athletes. This suspension would apply to the final Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in May, and will certainly attract the attention of the IOC on this matter, who may also consider further action," said the letter.

Earlier in August last year, the UWW had placed the WFI under provisional suspension with immediate effect after the Indian body failed to hold an election in due course. The suspension was lifted on February 13 this year after a meeting of the UWW Bureau.

While lifting the suspension, the UWW asked the WFI to reconvene the elections of its Athletes’ Commission. The WFI has also been directed to immediately provide UWW with written guarantees that all wrestlers will be considered for participation without any discrimination in all WFI events, in particular trials for the Olympic Games and any other major national and international events.

This non-discrimination includes the three athletes who protested against alleged wrongdoings by the former President.
Incidentally, the first mandated condition was fulfilled on Wednesday as the elections of the Athletes' Commission were held on the opening day of the Federation Cup in Varanasi.

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The New Indian Express