IOA ad-hoc committee takes control of WFI; asks for handover of docs to panel

The WFI has said they are already cooperating with the Indian Olympic Association and this is normal procedure at the end of each term, until elections take place.

WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, seen here with police escort, had defied the sports ministry's suspension of activities and opened a championship in Gonda in January (photo courtesy PTI)
WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, seen here with police escort, had defied the sports ministry's suspension of activities and opened a championship in Gonda in January (photo courtesy PTI)
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PTI

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has asked the secretary general of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to hand over all official documents, including financial instruments, to its ad-hoc panel, making it clear that the outgoing office-bearers shall have no role in the running of the federation.

The WFI said it has no issues in obeying the IOA order since they were already cooperating with the authorities. An IOA official, though, has made it clear that the move should not be seen as dissolution of the Federation.

"Once the elections will be held, the administrative powers will go back to the WFI. The newly elected officials will run the show. It's just a temporary move that ad-hoc is managing the affairs of the Federation," the official told PTI.

The IOA had formed an ad-hoc committee to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and also conduct the polls of the National Sports Federation, which are due.

The ad-hoc committee was formed by the IOA at the behest of the sports ministry after several top wrestlers returned to the protest site at Jantar Mantar here last month, demanding the arrest of WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for allegedly sexually harassing women grapplers.

The IOA issued a letter on Friday, saying that all administrative, financial and regulatory roles at the WFI will now be performed by the ad-hoc committee. The letter reads:

'In pursuance of the above [order of the IOA dated May 12, 2023], it is hereby clarified that the Ad Hoc Committee appointed by the IOA for the discipline of Wrestling shall carry out all the duties and responsibilities of the National Sports Federation (WFI) as enunciated in the Sports Code.

'With the Ad hoc Committee being in existence, the outgoing office bearers of the WFI shall have no role with respect to the exercise of any function of the NSF for discipline of Wrestling and shall not perform any administrative, financial, regulatory or any other role.

'The outgoing office bearers of the WFI are directed to hand over all official documents, including website management, financial instruments, login details for making entries for the participation of Indian sportspersons in international events, etc., to the Ad hoc Committee, forthwith.'

The letter has been addressed to the sports ministry and the WFI secretary general.

WFI secretary general V.N. Prasood said they have no issues in sharing all the relevant documents with the IOA panel.

"It's normal procedure. When the oversight committee was formed, then also we had given them all the necessary files through our staff. Now this ad hoc panel is there and we can give them whatever documents they need to manage WFI," Prasood told PTI.

"It's not an issue. Our term is already over, and the IOA and the government is managing [the federation]. It's normal procedure to ask for these documents," he added.

The WFI's annual general meeting, scheduled to be held at the beginning of the year, was called off by the sports ministry in January.

The ad-hoc committee has already finalised the rules and regulations for the selection trials to pick the Indian teams for the 2023 U-17 and U-23 Asian Wrestling Championships.

The Asian Championships for Under-17 and Under-23 wresters will be held in Bishkek from June 10 to 18. The trials will be held in Patiala from May 17. 

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