The Union Government on January 20, decided to suspend all activities of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) until the Oversight Committee is formally appointed and takes over the day-to-day activities of the federation.
This includes the suspension of the ongoing ranking competition, and the return of entry fees taken from the participants for any ongoing activities.
The announcement follows a decision on January 20, 2023, by the Government to appoint an Oversight Committee which will take over the day-to-day activities of the WFI.
The decision came shortly after the assistant secretary, WFI, Vinod Tomar, was suspended with immediate effect.
“I did not know about this. I only learned through a call from ANI that I have been suspended. I did not get any prior information about this. I have not done anything wrong,” said Vindo Tomar. Earlier today (January 20), Tomar termed the charges against the federation’s president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh ‘baseless’.
Vinod Tomar said the wrestlers, who sat in a dharna at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and levelled allegations of sexual harassment and financial impropriety against the WFI president, have not produced any evidence to support their claims.
“The allegations are baseless. It has been 3-4 days (since the wrestlers sat in protest) and they still haven’t produced any evidence. I have been associated with them for the past 12 years and I never came across any such incident or allegation,” Tomar said.
“The Government of India is committed to ensuring the proper functioning of the WFI, and the Oversight Committee will help to ensure that all the complaints made against the Executive Committee of the Federation are enquired into and the Federation is managed in an efficient and transparent manner in the best interests of the sportspersons,” stated a release by the Union Government.
Earlier on January 18, Vinesh Phogat alleged that coaches who are favourites of the WFI misbehave with women athletes and harass them.
She also accused the President of WFI, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of sexually harassing girls and calling her a ‘khota sikka’ after her defeat at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Vinesh Phogat alleged, “Coaches are harassing women and some coaches, who are favourites of the Federation, misbehave with women coaches as well. They sexually harass girls. The WFI president has sexually harassed many girls.”
“Wrestlers don’t want to tolerate the ongoing dictatorship. We’ll hold a press conference b/w 3-4 pm and reveal everything there,” Bajrang Punia.
Earlier, on January 20, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has formed a seven-member committee to probe the allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh.
Members of the committee include Olympic medalist Mary Kom, former archer Dola Banerjee, Alaknanda Ashok, London Olympic medalist Yogeshwar Dutt, Indian Weightlifting Federation President Sahdev Yadav and two advocates, the IOA announced on January 20.
Sahdev Yadav, Indian Weightlifting Federation president and a member of the IOA said the committee will conduct an unbiased investigation regarding the charges levelled by wrestlers against the WFI President and its coaches.