Just days following the induction of Sanjay Singh as the new chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), the Sports Ministry has taken the startling step of suspending the governing body for wrestling in the country. This move comes amidst a flurry of controversies, including the resignation of prominent wrestler Sakshi Malik and the symbolic act by Bajrang Punia, who left his Padma Shri outside the Prime Minister’s residence in protest.
The Sports Ministry’s decision to suspend the WFI was announced with a heavy emphasis on the purported violation of rules and regulations by the wrestling body. In an official statement released by the Ministry, it was highlighted that the declaration of the nationals by Sanjay Singh was considered premature and not in compliance with the established protocols.
The Ministry explicitly referenced specific clauses from the WFI constitution to bolster its stance. Article XI, titled ‘Notices and Quorum for Meetings,’ was cited to underscore the necessity of a minimum notice period and the requirement for quorum ahead of any decisions, particularly those pertaining to national events. The Ministry stressed the importance of adherence to these rules, emphasizing the need for due process and proper protocol in decision-making within the WFI.
However, the suspension wasn’t solely based on procedural irregularities. The Sports Ministry raised alarming concerns about the potential influence of the previous administration, accusing them of maintaining control over the current operations of the federation. This alleged interference by former office bearers has been highlighted as a blatant disregard for established sports governance codes.
Of graver concern were the allegations of sexual harassment within the premises controlled by the former WFI office bearers. The Sports Ministry drew attention to ongoing court proceedings concerning these allegations, suggesting a disturbing overlap between the locations where the federation’s business was conducted and the alleged incidents of harassment.
The confluence of these issues has resulted in a decisive move by the Sports Ministry to suspend the Wrestling Federation of India. This action underscores the gravity of the situation, highlighting not only procedural infractions but also deeper concerns about the governance and ethical conduct within the sporting body.
As the wrestling fraternity grapples with these upheavals, the suspension casts a shadow over the future of wrestling in India. It remains to be seen how this decision will impact the sport and whether it will lead to a thorough reformation of the WFI, ensuring a more transparent and accountable governance structure in the future.