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WFI’s disaffiliated state units complain to ad hoc body, may delay polls


Several disaffiliated state units of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) have alleged violation of the federation’s constitution, claiming they were ‘illegally’ de-recognised during the tenure of former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment.

Brij Bhushan Singh, head of the wrestling Federation of India (WFI) during an interaction with the media at his residence in Bishnoharpur (PTI)

These state units allege that Singh gave affiliation to units that helped him stay in power. He held the position from 2013 to 2023. With his third and final four-year term ending early this year, WFI announced elections on May 7. The union’s sports minister declared it void after protests by wrestlers, asking the Indian Olympic Association to appoint him. an ad hoc body to run it.

The panel was given 45 days to announce the election, although it is likely to take longer until disputes in state units are resolved. The wrestlers leading the protest, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, demanded that the controversial state units must be dissolved.

Bihar writes to the ad-hoc panel

The Bihar Wrestling Association (BWA) wrote to the ad hoc committee saying that it was dissolved in 2018 and another set of officials with Brij Bhushan’s son-in-law Vishal Singh as the “affiliate” president in violation of WFI. election by-laws.

Kameshwar Singh, who was the secretary of the Bihar unit till 2018, said in a letter to the ad hoc panel on May 16 that WFI issued them a show cause for “alleged irregularities during the conduct of the Junior National Championships in 2016-17”. They were then asked to appear before a disciplinary committee.

“No report was served but surprisingly, Singh ordered on the basis of the panel’s report that the officers were found guilty of serious misconduct and disqualified,” Kameshwar said. He claimed that an election was not held for the new affiliated body on October 16, 2018, as per the WFI constitution. “The motive behind Singh’s exercise was to get support from the Bihar unit for the general elections of WFI in January 2019,” he alleged in his letter.

When contacted, Kameshwar said the ad hoc committee must probe Singh’s actions and send an observer to hold fresh elections to the state body as per the National Sports Code.

The WFI executive committee dissolved the Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka units on June 30 last year, citing mismanagement. He nominated ad hoc committees to run these units and hold fresh elections.

Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda is the President of the Haryana Association (HWA). “In case of WFI elections, they have to consider HWA as we are recognized by Haryana Olympic Association (HOA),” said its secretary Raj Kumar Hooda. “HWA was disbanded without any reason and a parallel body — Haryana Amateur Wrestling Association — was recognized. We were not even served notice. There are other state bodies that have been illegally de-recognised by WFI.”

The Maharashtra State Wrestling Association (MSWA), with NCP leader Sharad Pawar as its president, petitioned the Bombay high court against the WFI’s decision and won the case. The court in November nullified the WFI executive committee’s resolution to dissolve the unit and declared the subsequent election to the Maharashtra unit “illegal”, restoring the Pawar-led body to its demise with his period.

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