‘Haven’t received any letter yet’: Sanjay Singh opens up on WFI suspension

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Public TV English
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RANCHI (Jharkhand) : In his first reaction to the Centre’s decision to suspend wrestling’s premier governing body in the country, Sanjay Singh, who was elected president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), on Sunday said he has yet to receive a copy of the letter issued by the Union Sports Ministry.

In light of protests by star grapplers Bajrang Punia and Sakshi Malik, the Union Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs, on Sunday suspended the federation along with all its office-bearers.

An aide of the former WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Sanjay Singh skirted comments on the Centre’s decision, telling reporters, “I was on a flight. I don’t know the details and have not received any letter yet. I will make a public statement only after going through the letter. I have heard that some decisions have been reversed.”

On Olympian Sakshi Malik’s emotional press conference during which she announced her retirement from wrestling, claiming the Centre went back on its word not to install any aide of Brij Bhushan as an office bearer of the top wrestling body, he said, “I have no comments about Sakshi or anything else.”

The decision came close on the heels of the newly elected WFI president announcing the hosting of the U-15 and U-20 nationals at Nandini Nagar in the Gond district of Uttar Pradesh by the end of the year.

Earlier this week, Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, a face of the wrestlers’ protest against Brij Bhushan over sexual harassment allegations, announced that she was quitting wrestling. Her decision came within an hour after Sanjay Singh was elected as the new WFI chief, replacing Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

Later, voicing his misgivings over the election of Sanjay Singh as the new WFI chief, fellow Olympian Bajrang Punia returned his Padma Shri in protest.

“This announcement is hasty, without giving sufficient notice to wrestlers who are to take part in the said nationals and without following the provisions of the constitution of WFI. As per clause 3 (e) of the preamble of the constitution of WFI, the object of the WFI, among others, is to arrange the holding of Senior, Junior and Sub Junior National Championships as per UWW Rules at places selected by the Executive Committee,” the Sports Ministry stated in a release on Sunday.

“Such decisions are to be taken by the Executive Committee, before which agendas are required to be placed for consideration. As per Article XI of the WFI constitution under the Heading ‘Notices and Quorum for Meetings’, the minimum notice period for EC meetings is 15 clear days and the quorum is of 1/3rd of representatives. Even for Emergency EC meetings, the minimum notice period is 7 clear days with a quorum requirement of 1/3rd of representatives,” the ministry added.

“Further, in terms of Article X (d) of the Constitution of WFI, it is the Secretary General of WFI, who has been made responsible for carrying out the general business of the Federation, keeping the minutes of the meetings, maintaining all the records of the Federation, calling the meetings of the General Council and the Executive Committee. It seems the Secretary-General has not been involved in the said meeting of EC, which was held without any notice or quorum,” it stated further.

“The decisions made by the newly elected executive body of the WFI demonstrate a blatant disregard for the established legal and procedural norms, violating both the WFI’s constitutional provisions and the National Sports Development Code. The newly elected body appeared to be in complete control of former office bearers in complete disregard to the Sports Code. The business of the Federation is being run from the premises controlled by former office bearers,” the ministry added.

The star wrestlers in May led a protest of wrestlers, who came out against Brij Bhushan, accusing him of sexual harassment. (ANI)

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