Express View on WFI suspension from United World Wrestling: On the mat

Source: The post is based on the article “Express View on WFI suspension from United World Wrestling: On the mat” published in The Indian Express on 28th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Government Policies & Intervention

Relevance: About WFI suspension

News: Recently, the United World Wrestling (UWW) has suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Why was the WFI suspended?

UWW took the action because of the failure of the WFI to hold elections in time. The delay happened because some top wrestlers protested against the former president of WFI, causing disagreements.

UWW consistently advised Indian sports leaders to resolve the issue and hold elections. Initial warnings in June and July about potential suspension were issued.

However, internal conflicts caused the courts to halt the elections, ultimately resulting in UWW’s decision to suspend the WFI.

Must Read: The problem with India’s sporting bodies and How we can democratise sports governance

What may be the consequences of suspension?

The wrestlers can still compete in international tournaments despite the WFI’s suspension.

However, they can’t show the Indian flag on their jerseys, and the national flag and anthem won’t be played even if they win. This situation is causing international embarrassment for India.

What are the issues with other sports bodies in India?

Wrestling isn’t alone in dealing with administrative issues. FIFA suspended India last year due to election delays, and similar threats came from bodies like the International Olympic Committee and International Hockey Federation.

In 2020, around 54 national federations lost recognition for not adhering to the Sports Code. The Delhi High Court also pulled up nearly twenty organizations for violating regulations.

What can be the way ahead?

Officials must promptly resolve the situation to avoid further harm. This is because continuing suspension will reduce international event invitations, hinder global funding, and ultimately, negatively impact the wrestlers in the long run.

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