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Wrestling

Sanjay Singh to challenge WFI suspension by sports ministry in court

The newly elected body of the Wrestling Federation of India has declared the suspension by the sports ministry as illegal.

Sanjay Singh to challenge WFI suspension by sports ministry in court
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Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh flaunting victory sign along with newly elected WFI president Sanjay Kumar Singh. 

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 29 Dec 2023 8:00 AM GMT

Sanjay Singh, the newly-elected Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, said he would challenge the government's decision to suspend the elected committee of the federation in the court of law. Singh alleged that the sports ministry did not follow "proper procedure" while suspending the newly elected committee of the WFI.

The sports ministry on Sunday suspended the WFI on December 24, three days after the election of Singh and other office bearers, for flouting its constitution while taking certain decisions, including hosting the U-15 and U-20 National Championships in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, in short notice.

Sanjay, however, said that his "autonomous" and "democratically elected" body could not have been suspended by the government without hearing the WFI's side of the story.

"We have won the elections (of WFI) democratically. The returning officer was the retired chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, there were observers from the IOA and UWW (United World Wrestling). There were 22 state units (three absent out of 25 state associations) taking part in the elections, 47 votes were polled out of which I got 40," Singh told PTI.

"After all these, if you say we are suspended, we are not going to accept it. A democratically-elected body was not given a chance to explain its position which is against the principle of natural justice which everybody is entitled to under the Constitution of India," he said.

Asked what is the way forward for his body, he said, "WFI is an autonomous body and the government has not followed proper procedure. We are going to talk to the government and if it (government) does not take back the suspension, we are taking legal opinion and going to court."

He said since the WFI is contesting the suspension, he does not accept the three-member ad-hoc committee formed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday to run the day-to-day affairs of the national sports body.

'Hoping that UWW will lift the ban on WFI'

Singh also claimed that he had written a letter to the UWW requesting it to lift the ban imposed on WFI, and he is hopeful of a favourable decision from the international parent body.

"We have written to the UWW requesting to lift the ban imposed on the WFI, as the elections were held democratically. Office holidays are going on (in Europe) so may take some days," said Singh.

He also claimed that the newly-elected office bearers did not violate any constitutional provision of the WFI while announcing dates and venue of the U-15 and U-20 National Championships in Gonda -- Brij Bhushan's Lok Sabha constituency -- after the December 21 elections.

"There was a full quorum when we decided to hold the U-15 and U-20 Nationals. There was an AGM on the day of the elections, we went to a hotel (in Delhi) and took the decision," he claimed, adding, "If the Nationals were not held this year, the future of the young wrestlers would have been spoilt, which it has happened now. They will become overage. Everybody agreed to the venue also."

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