|Introduction: What is the context of the question?|
Body: What can be the implications of the decision of UWW?
Conclusion: Way forward.
Recently, United World Wrestling (UWW), the world governing body for the sport, has taken a major decision to suspend the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the inability to conduct an election within a stipulated period. This means that Indian wrestlers cannot compete under the national flag in UWW events, including the World Championships in Belgrade in September. This has further put the spotlight on the role of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) which was earlier in the news because of allegations of sexual harassment against WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
What can be the implications of this decision?
- International embarrassment: WFI suspension does not impact the players directly as they continue to participate in international tournaments but won’t be allowed to display the tricolour on their jerseys.
- Insult to national symbols: WFI suspension will lead to no display of the Indian tricolour flag at major sporting events. Even if an Indian wins the competition the national anthem will not be played causing huge embarrassment to our nation.
- Low number of tournaments: The longer the suspension lasts, the more difficult it will become for India to resolve the issue. It will impact the sport as India will receive less number of invitations to participate in world events related to wrestling.
- Funding: The WFI suspension will inflict a huge blow on the funding WFI used to receive from UWW. This will increase the financial burden on WFI, which will impact wrestlers and their support personnel including individuals with high-performance, medical, or technical roles such as coaches, assistant coaches, and sports physicians.
- Performance of athletes: WFI suspension will impact the performance of wrestlers negatively as they will be in a state of distress concerned about their future.
There is an urgent need for WFI to hold elections for its top posts taking all stakeholders on board like state wrestling bodies to avoid factionalism. The elections should be held with complete transparency according to rules & regulations framed by international bodies. A thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations of “abuse and harassment” against the former WFI chief needs to be conducted. Sports Ministry should engage all relevant stakeholders including athletes, and officials of WFI to bring reforms in the functioning of WFI & resolve all issues peacefully and amicably.