Wrestlers move Delhi High Court against WFI, allege sports code violations, want its trials cancelled | Sport-others News

Alleging that the Wrestling Federation of India’s (WFI) elections were held in violation of the sports code, protesting wrestlers including Olympic medalls Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik and World Championship medall Vinesh Phogat have filed an urgent petition in the Delhi High Court with a plea to set aside the poll results and de-recognise the federation, it is learnt.
This development comes days after the WFI issued a circular stating that it would conduct national trials for Olympic qualifiers and invited the protesting wrestlers to participate in the trials.
The urgent plea also mentions that without the court intervening, the trial conducted the WFI won’t be free or fair and would affect the careers of wrestlers, a source said.
The WFI, in a circular, had announced that it would conduct trials on March 10-11 — the same dates as the trials announced the Indian Olympic Association-appointed ad-hoc committee. The WFI announced that the trials would be conducted at the IG Stadium in New Delhi. The ad-hoc committee has also scheduled trials — for the men in Patiala and for women in Sonipat.
According to sources, the urgent petition also mentions that the sports minry, despite suspending the elected body of the WFI, has allowed the WFI to use facilities (IG Stadium) owned it for trials.
The urgent petition also questions how the suspended WFI got permission for conducting trials at a venue which belongs to the Sports Authority of India/sports minry.
The sports minry had suspended the elected body of the WFI three days after its polls on December 21 for ‘blatant disregard for established legal and procedural norms’.
Sanjay Singh, a close aide of former president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP, was elected president of the WFI. Some of the country’s top wrestlers had protested demanding Brij Bhushan’s arrest after six women wrestlers filed a complaint against him alleging sexual harassment.
The sports minry also directed the Indian Olympic Association to set up an ad-hoc committee to run the day-to-day affairs of the WFI.
The United World Wrestling (UWW) had suspended the WFI for six months because of a delay in conducting elections. However, earlier this month, the UWW had lifted its provisional suspension of the WFI, which meant Sanjay Singh was back as president. At the same time, the sports minry has remained silent post UWW lifting the suspension imposed on the WFI.
The petition also alleges that the sports minry has turned a blind eye to the WFI not being in conformity with the sports code.

According to sources, the urgent petition mentions that the elected body of the WFI includes members who have been in power in their state wrestling units for more than 12 years or three terms and have not undergone any cooling-off period. The petition adds that some of those who are part of the executive committee of the WFI are older than 70 years and that there is no proper Athletes’ Commission in the WFI or the state units.

It is learnt that the urgent petition in the high court also calls for the ad-hoc committee to continue to run the day-to-day affairs of the WFI or appoint an adminrator to run the federation. The petition has also appealed to the court to direct the WFI office-bearers not to be in communication with UWW without getting clearance from the ad-hoc committee. According to sources, the urgent petition also calls on the court to issue an order to stop the WFI from taking any decision contrary to those of the sports minry or the ad-hoc committee.
The urgent petition also highlights the fact that the suspended WFI conducted a separate national championships even though they were aware that the ad-hoc committee had announced dates for their event.

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