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IOA panel investigating WFI case to submit report soon: PT Usha

IOA President PT Usha has confirmed that the IOA Panel looking into the allegations against the WFI Chief will submit a report soon.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing president of the Wrestling Federation of India. (Photo credit: WFI)

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing president of the Wrestling Federation of India. (Photo credit: WFI)



Updated: 12 March 2023 2:34 AM GMT

The committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association to probe sexual abuse allegations against sidelined WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is yet to submit its report and IOA president P T Usha said it is taking time since "it is a sensitive issue".

The IOA had on January 20 formed a seven-member committee headed by the legendary boxer MC Mary Kom to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment against the WFI president by some of the country's top wrestlers.

"It (report) is not finalized, it is going on. We met the players (wrestlers). The (IOA) committee will finalize and give the report to the IOA later," Usha told PTI after presiding over the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the IOA here on Saturday.

"It is a sensitive issue and it has to be done in a good way. Very soon we will do that," she said when asked if there is any deadline for submitting the report. "It happened when (just after) we took charge. It was with the ministry earlier. Both the ministry and IOA have constituted committees."

The IOA panel was formed after the agitating wrestlers, including the likes of Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, Deepak Punia, and Ravi Dahiya, had demanded the formation of an enquiry committee to probe the allegations against Singh.

The government had formed an oversight committee also under Mary Kom to probe the charges levelled by the wrestlers. Singh had appeared before the oversight committee of the government on February 28 and had outrightly rejected all the charges.

The IOA AGM, the first after Usha took charge in December last year, also decided to stage the 37th National Games in Goa towards the end of October or early part of November. The IOA wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Games and the dates of the multi-sport event could be fixed depending on his availability.

"We are going to organize the National Games in Goa and 90 percent of work is already completed there," said Usha, the sprint queen of the 1980s.

"The dates are not yet fixed. It can be from October end to November 12 like that," she added. "We want the Prime Minister to inaugurate the National Games. According to the time of his availability, we are going to fix the dates (of the Games)."

The Goa government has expressed its readiness to host the Games after multiple delays due to infrastructure-related issues. Some officials of the IOA want the National Games to end before Diwali which falls on November 12.

Earlier last month, officials of the state government, including the sports minister, had met Usha and the IOA top brass on the matter. Recently, the Games Technical Conduct Committee (GTCC) of the IOA, under the chairmanship of its executive council member Amitabh Sharma, made an inspection and declared that Goa is ready for the National Games.

Thirty-seven sports disciplines have been approved and a few more traditional games may also be included later on. Goa was to host the 36th edition of the National Games in 2016 but it did not happen due to multiple delays, mainly relating to the construction of infrastructure. Gujarat then hosted the event in September-October last year.

On the issue of the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer of the IOA, Usha said, "We have called for applications. We had norms (criteria), but only one application is upto the mark. We need more (applications). So, we are going to advertise (for the post) again."

IOA Joint secretary and All India Football Federation President Kalyan Chaubey have been discharging the functions of the CEO so far. Under the new Constitution drafted by a Supreme Court-constituted panel and approved by the International Olympic Committee, the IOA was to appoint a CEO who would perform the functions of the erstwhile Secretary General.

The CEO will be an ex-officio member of the Executive Council without voting rights. The IOA had earlier called for applications for the post to be submitted on January 31 at the latest. One of the eligibility criteria for the said post is that the candidate should be a "management professional with an experience of no less than 10 years as the CEO of a company/entity with an annual turnover of no less than Rs 25 crores".

Article 15.3 of the amended IOA constitution also says that "the CEO shall be proposed by a nomination committee comprising the (IOA) president, chairman of the Athletes Commission, and one IOC member from India".

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