World wrestling body threatens to reimpose ban on WFI if ad-hoc committee is brought back

The UWW president Nenad Lalovic reminded the WFI of the serious implications the move could have, including jeopardising India's preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 16:52 IST
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 16:52 IST

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New Delhi: Wrestling's world governing body UWW on Friday threatened to reimpose the ban on India and bar its wrestlers from the final Olympic Qualifiers next month if an ad-hoc committee was brought back to run the sport.

Recently, the Delhi High Court directed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to file an affidavit stating the circumstances which led to the dissolution of the ad-hoc committee for running the national wrestling body.

The UWW (United World Wrestling) in a letter to WFI (Wrestling Federation of India) reiterated its stand that they won't allow any third party interference in the running of the national association of any country.

"We have been informed that the Wrestling Federation of India is once again threatened by your Ministry of Sports with the imposition of an Ad-hoc committee to oversee its affairs," UWW president Nenad Lalovic wrote in his e-mail to WFI.

He reminded the WFI of the serious implications the move could have, including jeopardising India's preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games.

"Besides our lassitude for this additional affair impacting your federation and its members, we would like to reiterate UWW's determination to uphold the principle of autonomy and independence of its national federations in accordance with the UWW Statutes and the Olympic Charter."

"In case any decision or order should be made against your federation, and a third party be designated to run the daily affairs of our sport in India in violation of the UWW Statutes, UWW would have no other option than to re-impose a temporary suspension of your federation until further notice, and which, this time, could maybe include your athletes," Lalovic warned.

Earlier, in a big relief for WFI, the UWW had lifted its suspension on it on after it conducted elections. However, the sports ministry is yet to lift its suspension. A number of court cases are also pending in the matter as elite wrestlers have challenged the legality of WFI's elections.

The Indian wrestling contingent have always returned with medals since Sushil Kumar's bronze medal in Beijing in the 2008 edition and the comeback of an ad-hoc committee would mean robbing the wrestlers a chance of qualification for the Paris Games.

This suspension would apply to the final Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in May, and will certainly attract the attention of the IOC on this matter, who may also consider further action.

"Please note that the UWW Bureau is informed of this situation and eventuality," it further stated.

This threat from UWW comes days after the Delhi High Court was considering an application filed by four wrestlers including Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia after the IOA dissolved the ad hoc committee on March 18 saying that there was 'no further need' for it to run.

The ad hoc committee was constituted by the IOA on the directions of the sports ministry on December 27 after the ministry suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Published 26 April 2024, 16:52 IST

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