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Suspension of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

GS Paper  2

 Syllabus: Sports Governance


Source: TH

Context: The United World Wrestling (UWW) has provisionally suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) due to the delay in conducting its elections.

The suspension comes in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation, financial irregularities, and administrative lapses brought forth by prominent wrestlers against the former WFI president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and others.


  • The UWW took this action due to the absence of an elected president and board, which goes against UWW regulations and membership conditions. The suspension is expected to last for at least six months
  • The UWW has also considered the protection of athletes and the need to restore the federation’s functioning as reasons for the suspension


Why was the delay caused?

The WFI announced elections for May 7. However, protesting Wrestlers demanded Brij Bhushan’s arrest and his family’s exclusion from elections. The Ministry of Sports halted polls and asked the Olympic Association to form an ad-hoc committee. However, before the election could take place on the date set by IOA, the High Court of Guwahati and Punjab& Haryana stayed the elections.


As a result of the suspension:

  • Indian wrestlers cannot compete under the national flag in UWW-sanctioned events.
  • No national anthem will be played if an Indian wrestler wins a gold medal in these events.
  • However, Indian Wrestlers are not barred from playing


Common issues faced by women in sports:

Lack of funding and supportThe US women’s soccer team paid less despite winning more titles than the men’s team.
Gender-based discriminationFemale athletes are told they are not as strong or capable as male athletes.
Indian sports are marred by political influence and male domination in positions of power.
Sexual harassment and abuseTennis player Ruchika Girhotra raised their voice against the tennis federation president.
E.g., Chinese Tennis star Peng Shuai accused the Chinese Vice Premier of sexual assault.
E.g., USA Gymnastics faced a sexual abuse scandal.
Lack of media coverageWomen’s sports events receive less media coverage, limiting visibility and sponsorship.
Decreased quality trainingInferior facilities, lack of trained coaches, and inadequate equipment.
Stereotyping and objectificationFemale athletes are objectified and stereotyped based on appearance.
Social attitudes and disfigurementDiscrimination based on gender identity, negative evaluations, and loss of position.
Ethical issuesSexual harassment in sports leads to abuse of power, trust violations, and unsafe environments.


Steps needed and those taken to address the issues faced by women in sports:

Education and AwarenessThe International Olympic Committee’s Athlete365 program provides educational resources on athlete safeguarding.
Policy and guidelines developmentSports Authority of India mandates female coaches to accompany female athletes during travel.
Reporting and complaint mechanismsSexual Harassment Electronic Box (SHe-Box) offers a platform for women to register complaints of harassment.
Accountability and enforcementNational Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices regarding inappropriate coach behaviour.
Support and empowermentMinistry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Khelo India Scheme to encourage girls’ sports participation.


To address the issues faced by women in sports. It will require a concerted effort from various stakeholders, including governments, sports organizations, and civil society, to create a safe and equitable environment for women in sports.


About United World Wrestling

It is the international governing body (founded 1912; Headquarters: Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland) for the sport of amateur wrestling; its duties include overseeing wrestling at the World Championships and Olympics. It presides over international competitions for various forms of wrestling, including Greco-Roman, Freestyle, Grappling, as well as others


Insta Links:

What triggered Indian Wrestlers’ Protests?


Mains Links

How has women’s participation in sports changed over time? Enlist the challenges and limitations that women in sports face and measures taken to empower them. (15M)