IOA yet to formally start election process to avoid WFI's suspension: Report
As per the Sports Code, the entire election process could take 11 to 16 days which would breach the 10 June deadline.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is in a race against time to avoid suspension of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) with election process yet to get underway. Amid protest by country’s top wrestlers against the outgoing WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the process has been stalled and may not be completed in time.
As per the Sports Code, the process could take 11 to 16 days which would breach the 10 June deadline. An ad-hoc committee was formed on 27 April and were then given a 45-day deadline by the Sports Ministry.
However, as a per a report in The Indian Express, IOA are yet to formally start the process. “Until the current crisis ends, it will be tough to conduct elections in a free and fair manner. Hence, the IOA hasn’t yet appointed a retired judge or issued a formal notification for the elections,” the report quoted an unnamed individual as saying.
The development comes days after United World Wrestling (UWW, the global body for the sport, urged the IOA to ‘respect’ the 45-day deadline to conduct the WFI elections. The UWW had also condemned the treatment and detention of the protesting wrestlers during the week.
“Failing to do so may lead UWW to suspend the federation, thereby forcing the athletes to compete under a neutral flag. It is reminded that UWW already took a measure in this situation by reallocating the Asian Championship planned in New Delhi earlier this year,” the world body said in a statement.
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The entire election process can take 11 days if members are elected unopposed. However, it can stretch to 16 days if there is more than one contender for the same post.
The report added that the IOA or the ad-hoc body are likely to ask the UWW more time to conduct the elections.
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and the sport itself has been in turmoil ever since Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was accused of sexual harassing seven female grapplers including a minor. President of the WFI since 2011, he is ineligible for re-election under the age and tenure clause of the Sports Code.
The WFI were due to hold the elections on 7 May but after the wrestlers protest restarted on 23 April, they were deferred.
The government had declared WFI’s election process null and void on 24 April. Subsequently, the IOA announced Bhupender Singh Bajwa (president of the Wushu Federation of India) and Suma Shirur (former shooter) as members of the ad-hoc committee to oversee the day-to-day affairs of WFI. The IOA added a retired High Court will be appointed closer to WFI’s election.
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