WFI rebuts wrestlers’ protest, claims allegations as part of larger conspiracy

In a lengthy explanation to the Union Sports Ministry’s notice, WFI secretary V.N. Prasood countered all charges made by the protesting wrestlers.

Published : Jan 21, 2023 17:17 IST , KOLKATA

Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Anurag Thakur along with wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Babita Phogat and Ravi Kumar Dahiya addresses a joint press conference regarding the wrestlers’ protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Anurag Thakur along with wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Babita Phogat and Ravi Kumar Dahiya addresses a joint press conference regarding the wrestlers’ protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. | Photo Credit: ANI
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Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Anurag Thakur along with wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Babita Phogat and Ravi Kumar Dahiya addresses a joint press conference regarding the wrestlers’ protest against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and its chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Saturday said that the protest by some prominent wrestlers in Delhi was part of a ‘larger conspiracy to malign and defame’ its president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.

In a lengthy explanation to the Union Sports Ministry’s notice, on the allegations of sexual harassment of woman wrestlers by the WFI president and coaches and arbitrariness and mismanagement by the federation, WFI secretary V.N. Prasood rebutted all charges and claimed: “No adverse action is called for against the federation in terms of the provisions in the National Sports Development Code 2011.”

Rejecting allegations of sexual harassment, the WFI said it has a five-member Sexual Harassment Committee, which includes Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, and no complaint has been received by the panel.

“Hence, allegations to that effect are equally malicious and unfounded and made the present WFI management, including its president, a soft target,” WFI added.

It said the WFI works per its rules in the best interests of Indian wrestling and the country’s wrestlers have won several medals under the present leadership.

The WFI said it conducted 23 National-level events in 2022 and none of its policy decisions has been successfully questioned in any court of law.

“The sitting management of WFI is wrestling oriented and does not allow whims and fancies of anyone and that there is no scope for any arbitrariness and mismanagement.”

Highlighting that most of the protesting wrestlers were from a particular region of Haryana, WFI said the next federation elections are due later this year. It said all such reasons and facts point that the protest is not in the best interest of the wrestlers nor for the promoting good wrestling in India, but has some personal as well as hidden agenda to dislodge the current fairest and strict management of WFI.

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