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IOA doesn't budge: Refuses to recognise Boxing India

IOA doesn't budge: Refuses to recognise Boxing India

IOA rejected Boxing India's application for recognition as the national federation.

Indian Olympic Association on Saturday rejected Boxing India's application for recognition as the national federation, with its president N Ramachandran saying that BI was "imposed" by the world body AIBA against the wishes of the IOA.

Ramachandran told a press conference after the Annual General Body Meeting of the IOA, that it still recognises the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, whose affiliation was terminated by the AIBA. The Sports Ministry had earlier derecognised the IABF.

The decision of the IOA will lead to a bizarre situation where one boxing body is being recognised by its parent international body while another body is being recognised by the national apex sports body.

"Boxing issue was discussed at length at the Executive Council Meeting and it was unanimously agreed that the body for boxing in India and the body that is recognised by IOA is IABF. It is the AIBA which has recognised Boxing India and their elections. Neither the government nor the IOA sent any observer for their elections. We already have a recognised body IABF," Ramachandran said.

"There were disputes and IOA constituted an ad hoc committee but subsequently AIBA recognised Boxing India. It was imposed and they (AIBA) said BI will hold their elections. IOA took up the matter with AIBA President, we said elections should be held under the aegis of IOA with AIBA observers present. AIBA did not accept these suggestions and BI held their elections under supervision of AIBA," he added.

Ramachandran slammed the AIBA for taking a "unilateral" decision on the elections concerning a national sports federation.

"When an election to a national sports federation is being held in India, the National Olympic Committee should be involved. More so when there is a dispute between two groups. Shutting out IOA and taking a unilateral stand is not good for any sport. Today, it is boxing and tomorrow it can be some other sport. Autonomy of IOA prescribed in its constitution cannot be compromised under any circumstances," said Ramachandran.

"An international federation cannot tell IOA that we do not like this X, bringing in Y in its place. You cannot force a National Olympic Committee, those days are gone," he added.

Ramachandran said that the Boxing India elections lacked transparency and the IOA has got "many complaints of irregularities".

"IOA received many complaints of irregularities during BI elections. IOA EC took note of all these complaints and discussed the matter at the AGM. The process of elections was flawed. There has to be some system of transparency. When we have transparency in Indian elections, I do not see why we can not have transparency in such elections. Why cannot we have somebody else. They should have associated IOA with their elections," said the IOA president.

"The very fact that AIBA did not take IOA into confidence itself is a major issue. As President of IOA, I had written several letters on the subject to AIBA, despite that IOA was not taken into confidence," he added.

The IOA president, however, said that all was not lost and the issue can be resolved still.

"I hope Boxing India, AIBA and the IABF can sit across and resolve the issue. We are here to help the athletes and not here to punish them. For IOA, it is the athletes who are vital and at the same time we cannot compromise on its autonomy."

Ramachandran said that IABF, led by Ashok Matoria, the brother-in-law of Abhay Singh Chautala who was the IOA president when it served a 14-month suspension from the IOC till February, will conduct the national events.

"As far as IOA is concerned, the IABF will be conducting the national events. As far as the conduct of boxing events in National Games in Kerala, the IOA's ad hoc committee is there to handle it," he said.

Ramachandran also expressed his happiness that boxer Sarita Devi was not handed a long ban and that she can compete in qualification events for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

"I am very happy, thanks to the efforts of the IOA and the Government of India, Sarita Devi has been given a ban for one year. The most important thing is that she is entitled to take part in the qualification events for the Rio Olympics and under the circumstances we are very happy for her in the sense that the ban is just one year. Let us see where it takes us," Ramachandran concluded.

first published:December 20, 2014, 14:02 IST