The Sports Ministry on Sunday said the suspended Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has no authority to conduct the Senior National Championships and any event staged by the body will be considered “unsanctioned” and “unrecognised”. Three days after the WFI held its polls last month, the Ministry had suspended the sports body citing several violations of rules and then the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) formed a three-member ad-hoc panel to manage the federation’s day-to-day affairs.

However, a defiant Sanjay Singh, President of the suspended WFI, said that they will soon organise the national championships and insisted that they neither recognise the suspension of the newly-elected body nor the ad-hoc panel.

“It has come to the notice of the Ministry that you have issued a Circular bearing No. WFI/Senior National/Maharashtra/2024 dated 06.01.2024 on the letterhead of the Wrestling Federation of India regarding conduct of Senior National Wrestling Championship 2023 at Pune (Maharashtra) from 29-31 January 2024,” Ministry said in a letter.

“As per this Ministry’s order dated 24.12.2023, you have no authority to issue such a Circular or to use the letterhead of the Wrestling Federation of India wherein you claim affiliation of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.

“You must immediately cease and desist using the letterhead of the Wrestling Federation of India for such prohibited purposes and using the name, logos and insignia of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India in violation of the provisions of the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011(Sports Code) and the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.” In the strongly-worded letter to Sanjay Singh, the Ministry further said that “any championships or competitions organized by you – the suspended Executive Committee members of the WFI – will be treated as unsanctioned and unrecognized competitions.

“Certificates of participation and medals won in championships conducted by the WFI will be of no consequence and will not be considered for eligibility under any scheme of the government or appointment to government jobs/to get admission in school and colleges under sports quota, sports awards, etc…

“Until further orders, only National Wrestling Championships for various age categories organized under the supervision of the IOA-appointed Ad hoc Committee for Wrestling will be treated as sanctioned and recognized championships for wrestling under the Sports Code and all government benefits will only accrue to the sportspersons participating in such National championships organized by the Ad hoc Committee.” The ad-hoc panel had announced that it will host the senior national championships in Jaipur from February 2-5.

Indian wrestling has witnessed unprecedented power struggle in the last one year. In protest against Sanjay, who is a close aide of sexual harassment accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Bajrang Punia returned his Padma Shri and Vinesh Phogat returned her Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna.

Sakshi Malik had quit wrestling the day Sanjay won the WFI president’s election.

“This is very positive move by ministry of sports , government of India. It will be great milestone for all upcoming wrestlers,” said Rohtash Singh, president of Harayana Amatuer Wrestling Association, which is one of the factions of the state federation.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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