Sports ministry suspends newly-elected WFI, Bajrang Punia welcomes decision

The newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been suspended by the sportts ministry, alleging it showed “complete disregard” for the existing rules and regulations.

New Delhi, Dec 24 : The newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been suspended by the sportts ministry, alleging it showed “complete disregard” for the existing rules and regulations.

The sports ministry, in a press statement, said the announcement for U15 and U20 national competitions in Gonda was “hasty: and that due process was “not followed”.


The Ministry noted that Sanjay Singh had announced that the U15 and U20 nationals would take place in Gonda before the end of the year and that the call from Singh was ‘hasty’ without following the provisions of the WFI constitution.

The Ministry stated that the rules stipulates that at least a 15-day notice is required for preparations.

“Such decisions (holding nationals) are to be taken by Executive Committee, before which agendas are required to be placed for consideration. As per Article XI of the WFI constitution under the Heading ‘Notices and Quorum for Meetings’, minimum notice period for EC meeting is 15 clear days and quorum is of 1/3rd of representatives. Even for Emergency EC meeting, minimum notice period is seven clear days with quorum requirement of 1/3rd of representatives,” the ministry said in its statement.

Giving reasons for suspending the newly-elected body, the ministry stated that the incumbent body appeared to be in complete control of the previous office bearers, against whom allegations of sexual harassment had been made.

“Newly elected body appears to be in complete control of former office bearers in complete disregard to the Sports Code,” the ministry said.

“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 the court is hearing the matter,” it further added.

Earlier on December 23, Rio Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik had called out WFI for hosting the junior national competitions in Gonda – the stronghold of Brij Bhushan Singh, who was ousted by the ministry for his alleged involvement in sexual harassment and intimidation.

Meanwhile, Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia welcomed the Sports Ministry’s decision to suspend the newly-elected WFI body.

Sanjay Singh, ex chief of the Uttar Pradesh wrestling body and a close aide of former WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, was elected as the new WFI president on Thursday.

Earlier this year, Punia had raised the banner of revolt by holding months-long protest against Brij Bhushan and the previous regime of the WFI, He expressed his disappointment earlier this week at Sanjay Singh’s election as the new WFI president and left his Padma Shri on the pavement of Kartavya Path in New Delhi as a mark of protest.

Welcoming the suspension, Punia said he would be ready to take back his Padma Shri Award, provided the government keeps away Brij Bhushan and his close aides from the wrestling body.”The Ministry has taken the right decision,” he said.

“We were accused of being politically charged, they said we are divided by our region. It was portrayed like Haryana vs UP. Sir, we win medals for the country. They were threatening everyone. What, Brij Bhushan is bigger than the government?

“Our stand remains the same. Brij Bhushan and his people should not be part of the WFI. In every state association, he has his people,” he added.

Replying to a query, Punia flayed the trolls saying all those who labeled the protesting wrestlers as “traitors” were working for Brij Bhushan. “We were awarded by the government because of some good things we did for the country. Definitely, we will do it (take it back). Trolls are calling us ‘desh drohi (traitor)’. Why? We have given our blood and sweat to the country. All these trolls are Brij Bhushan Singh’s supporters. Who are these trolls to label us?” he said.

Malik had also criticised Sanjay Singh’s election and retired from the sport in protest in a teary-eyed press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.

Malik said she would not go back on her decision until and unless the government acted against Brij Bhushan and his aides.