The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday decided that it will seek a dialogue with the Sports Ministry for revocation of its suspension, saying it does not want a clash with the government and the legal options will be explored only if talks fail.
The WFI had earlier said it will knock the doors of the judiciary to get the suspension revoked but had a change of mind at its Executive Council (EC) meeting, which was chaired by President Sanjay Singh and attended by 12 other elected members.
Secretary General Prem Chand Lochab and Senior Vice President Devender Kadian skipped the meet.
“We do not want a clash with the government. We are not moving court as of today. We will seek time from the ministry and a delegation will try and speak with the government,” Sanjay Singh told PTI after the meeting.
Asked if he won’t get time from the ministry, he said, “First we have to try. We want to know what we need to do to get the suspension lifted. Like UWW had set certain conditions when it had suspended. The ground was not holding elections. The government has suspended us but there is no clarity how it will be lifted.
“Earlier also we had written to the ministry but we did not get a reply. We will approach ministry in 2-3 days. A delegation will be formed for the dialogue and I am hopeful that suspension will be lifted before the Nationals in Pune.
“We had invited all elected members including Prem Chabnd Lochab for this meeting but he did not turn up. He had said, ‘he will see’.”
Lochab had objected to WFI conducting a meeting, hours after elections, saying the WFI can’t conduct business in the absence of the Secretary General. The ad-hoc panel has announced that it will conduct senior Nationals from February 3 in Jaipur and the age-group championships in Gwalior.
Citing violation of the National Sports Code and the WFI constitution, the government had suspended the newly elected body on December 24, three days after the federation conducted its election.
The WFI has maintained that it neither accepts the suspension nor does it recognise the ad-hoc panel that has been constituted by the IOA to manage the day-to-day affairs of the sport.
Sanjay Singh also said that state associations have given their commitment to send teams for the Nationals that will be conducted by the WFI in Pune and not the one which the ad-hoc panel has planned to organise in Jaipur.
“The WFI Constitution mandates the Federation to host the Nationals and not any ad-hoc panel. A total of 25 state associations have already written to the ministry and the UWW that it will send teams for Nationals to be conducted by WFI.”
It has been learnt that many wrestlers selected by state associations through trials have already booked tickets for Pune, where WFI will conduct Nationals from January 29-31.
Sanjay Singh contended that Indian wrestling was at a loss because a proper functioning WFI is not in place.
“See, we did not have all entries for the Zagreb Open. We had Aman winning a gold medal but no national anthem was played and the tri-colour was not hoisted. The athlete plays for such moments and they can drape themselves in national flag but it did not happen because of the UWW suspension.
“So many weight categories went unrepresented and this is not good for wrestlers and Indian wrestling.”
The ad-hoc panel had picked the wrestlers who competed at the Hangzhou Asian Games for the Ranking Series event and even those 18 categories did not have all the wrestlers.
The event in Croatia had offered medals and ranking points in 30 weight categories, including 12 in non-olympic weight classes.
The WFI EC also decided to bring about an amendment in its Constitution to make it clear that a two-third majority will be required only if an EC member seeks one more term for the same post.
“A lot of people claimed that I was ineligible to contest for the post of WFI President just because I have served as joint secretary. But let me clarify that if I seek a different post then I don’t need a two-third majority, only a simple majority will do. There was confusion and to remove that we discussed the issue. EC has passed it and now it should be cleared in AGM also. We welcome even our rivals. They can come with their suggestions for the betterment of wrestling in the country and we will accept them.”