Indian Sports Ministry Directs IOA to Form Ad-Hoc Committee for Managing Wrestling Federation Amid Governance Concerns

In a significant development within Indian sports, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports directed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to form an ad-hoc committee to manage the affairs of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). This decision followed the suspension of all activities of the newly-elected body of the WFI by the Ministry. The Sports Ministry’s directive comes in the wake of concerns about the governance and integrity of the WFI, especially considering its status as an Olympic sport and its affiliation with the IOA.

The formation of the ad-hoc committee is intended to ensure the principles of good governance in sports organizations are upheld. This committee is tasked with managing and controlling the affairs of the WFI, including the selection of athletes, organizing sporting activities, and ensuring participation in international events. The decision was made after the WFI, under its new executive committee, made several decisions in violation of norms, including the announcement of junior national championships without proper notice.

The concerns leading to this directive are deep-rooted, as the former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh faced serious accusations, including sexual harassment, from top Indian wrestlers. These allegations had led to protests earlier in the year. Following the ministry’s intervention, the headquarters of the WFI, which had been operating from Singh’s residence, is expected to be relocated.

This is not the first instance where the Sports Ministry has had to intervene in the affairs of the WFI. In April 2023, a similar situation occurred, leading to the Ministry asking the IOA to form an ad-hoc committee to manage the federation’s affairs. The current situation emphasizes the ongoing challenges in maintaining governance and integrity within sports federations in India.

The Indian Olympic Association is expected to form the interim committee shortly, ensuring that the day-to-day activities of Indian wrestlers and their participation in competitions are not hindered. The establishment of the ad-hoc committee is a critical step in addressing the governance issues within the WFI and ensuring the welfare of the athletes and the sport of wrestling in India.

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