WORLD India's sports minister announces WFI president stepping aside


India's sports minister announces WFI president stepping aside


16:54, January 21, 2023

NEW DELHI, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- India's federal sports minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday announced that Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh will step aside from his position until the completion of the probe into allegations of sexual harassment and misappropriation of funds.

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (C) arrives to address a press conference in Gonda on January 20, 2023, following allegations of sexual harassment to wrestlers by members of the WFI. (Photo: AFP)

Thakur made the announcement during a press conference after a several-hour meeting with protesting wrestlers.

"It has been decided that an oversight committee will be formed and names for it will be announced tomorrow. The committee will complete its investigation within four weeks. It will thoroughly probe all the allegations, be it financial or sexual harassment that have been leveled against the WFI and its chief," Thakur said in the news conference.

"Until the investigation is over, he (Singh) will step aside and cooperate with the investigation and the oversight committee will run the day-to-day affairs of the WFI."

With the announcement, the wrestlers called off their protest against alleged sexual harassment and misappropriation of funds.

Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, who was at the forefront of the protest, said the minister has assured he is with the wrestlers at every step.

"We are hopeful that the committee will probe the matter in a neutral way," Punia said. "The minister has promised protection to all the protesting athletes and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also always supported the athletes."

The Indian Olympic Association has also announced a seven-member panel to investigate the allegations against Singh. The panel has athletes Mary Kom, Dola Banerjee, Alaknanda Ashok, Yogeshwar Dutt and Sahdev Yadav as members.

The Indian wrestlers, including some top ones, began their protest against the WFI chief at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The protest demonstration intensified after World Championships medalist Vinesh Phogat accused Singh and other coaches of sexually harassing women wrestlers for years.

Phogat has alleged that at least 10 women wrestlers confessed to her that they were sexually exploited by Singh.

Singh, however, denied the allegations during a press briefing on Wednesday evening and said he was ready for an investigation. He was reluctant to step aside.

Singh has been at the helm of the WFI since 2011. He was elected president of the WFI for the third consecutive time in February 2019, reports said.

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue