The Wrestling Federation of India(WFI) in Pursuit of Financial Independence Amid Suspension

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WFI

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has declared its intention to operate without government assistance if its suspension persists as per PTI. Following a Special General Meeting (SGM) held in Noida, the federation has adopted a ‘no cost to government’ model, which signifies the board’s continuing efforts to revive the administrative functions.

In August 2023, the WFI was suspended by the sport’s world governing body, United World Wrestling (UWW), due to its failure to hold elections after its chief was charged with sexual misconduct. This suspension led to a series of protests by India’s top wrestlers, demanding the resignation of WFI President Brij Bhushan Singh.

The suspension had significant implications for the WFI. The absence of a regularly elected president and board was deemed non-compliant with UWW regulations. Although Indian wrestlers were allowed to compete in the Asian Games, they could not do so under the Indian flag.

WFI to operate independently from the government

In response to the suspension, the WFI held a Special General Meeting (SGM) in March 2024. The meeting was attended by all 25 state associations, and significant decisions were made regarding the federation’s future.

The most notable decision was the WFI’s resolution to function at ‘no cost to the government’ if its request to lift the suspension was not considered by the Sports Ministry. This decision marked a significant shift in the federation’s operational model, as the government typically funds wrestlers’ training, competition, and exposure trips to foreign countries.

The ‘no cost to the government’ model implies that the WFI would have to arrange and conduct national camps on its own. This move towards financial independence is a bold step, reflecting the federation’s commitment to ensuring the continuity of wrestling activities in India, despite the challenges posed by the suspension.

The SGM also brought about an amendment to the WFI’s Constitution. It was decided that any candidate contesting the election for a new post is not required to win by a two-thirds majority. This amendment could potentially facilitate smoother transitions in the federation’s leadership in the future.

The UWW lifted its suspension on the WFI in February 2024, and the Indian Olympic Association also dissolved the ad-hoc panel that was managing the affairs of the body. These developments paved the way for the elected officebearers to take back control of the federation. However, the government is yet to lift its suspension.

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