wfi: Sports ministry suspends all activities of WFI, fires top official

The Union Sports Ministry has asked the Indian Wrestling Federation (WFI) to suspend activities, including Sunday’s scheduled general meeting in Ayodhya, until a supervisory board takes charge of the body.

This comes a day after the government set up an oversight panel to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and financial misconduct against WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, recently brought to light by a prominent athlete. It was conducted.

“No bigger than the party,” Singh, who had previously said an emergency general assembly of about 80 members would take up all issues raised by sports officials, tweeted on Sunday night.

He said his commitment to BJP was unquestionable and asked his followers not to take their anger out on social media by posting offensive content.

The sports ministry also issued instructions to suspend WFI deputy secretary Vinod Tomar, who openly supported Singh and accused the protesting wrestler of a “hidden agenda”.

The government said Tomar’s “continued presence would be detrimental to the work of the oversight body”.The ministry has yet to release the names of the members of the committee.

Many prominent wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Ravi Dahiya have accused Singh of harassment and intimidation. Singh has led WFI for 10 years. The Ministry of Sports on Saturday instructed Singh to stay away from WFI’s day-to-day operations.

However, Singh was attending a wrestling event in his fort, Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, on the same day. The development irritated the wrestler, who called off the protest hours after a meeting with his sports minister Anurag Thakur.

Thakur said on Sunday that a ranking tournament for wrestlers in Gonda was canceled and those who had paid to participate were asked to issue refunds.

The decision to set up an oversight committee was seen as a breakthrough in negotiations between the protesters and the ministry, but on Friday night a five-hour meeting was held between the sports minister and wrestlers in the presence of the sports secretary and the DG. It was held after the marathon meeting that followed. Indian institution, ET has learned.

Sources say back-route talks with the wrestlers will continue while the ministry finalizes the names of the committee members.

The matter was difficult to handle because the federation is an independent electoral body and the ministry had to quickly find a solution to reassure the wrestlers who had been protesting since Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter. was.

The government also wanted to avoid a repeat of the suspension of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) brought to the Supreme Court ahead of last year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup.

Since there were no formal complaints or police action, the Ministry of Sports was trying to understand the exact charges against Singh so that further action could be initiated.

Even when negotiations began on Thursday, the ministry also sought a response from the WFI within 72 hours, in an effort to delay public statements by Singh.

Six-term MP Singh, 66, a powerful figure from Gonda, had threatened a “tsunami” if he was asked to resign.

Sources said the center had clarified that with Republic Day approaching, the protests had to end immediately in order for the festivities to take over.

One wrestler told ET that Thakur listened to their appeals patiently and asked them to suggest possible names for members of the committee.

A second round of final talks with the wrestlers took place on Thursday after Thakur suspended his program in Himachal Pradesh and rushed to Delhi to address the issue.

“The minister told us that even the accused coach would be asked to step down until the investigation was completed. That was reassuring,” another source said.

Meanwhile, the WFI rejected all allegations in an eight-page response to the ministry, instead promoting vested interests and conspiring athletes against other states that want to develop in sports like Haryana. accused us.

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