The United World Wrestling (UWW) has indefinitely suspended the membership of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) due to the federation’s failure to conduct the necessary elections.
The WFI has been embroiled in a series of controversies, causing its elections to be postponed significantly. The federation, which is India’s wrestling governing body, was supposed to hold elections in June 2023. However, the elections have been repeatedly postponed due to a series of protests by Indian wrestlers and legal petitions from various state units.
The elections for 15 positions on the WFI’s governing body were scheduled to be held on August 12. On Monday, four candidates, including outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s close aide Sanjay Singh from Uttar Pradesh, filed nominations for the post of president at the Olympic Bhawan in New Delhi.
Darshan Lal of the Chandigarh wrestling body was nominated for the position of general secretary, while SP Deswal of Uttarakhand was nominated for treasurer from the Brij Bhushan camp.
The WFI was suspended first in January and then again in May after India’s top wrestlers protested against its functioning and alleged its then president Brij Bhushan sexually harassed female wrestlers. The day-to-day affairs of WFI are currently being managed by the Indian Olympic Association-constituted ad-hoc committee led by Bhupender Singh Bajwa.
Notably, the United World Wrestling, the governing body of the sport at the highest level, warned WFI of suspension if the elections were delayed.
Maharashtra and Tripura will not have any representatives at the elections as the Returning Officer deemed claims of both factions from the former “ineligible” while Tripura has remained disaffiliated since 2016.
Aug 24, 2023