The Indian Amateur Boxing Association (IABF) received a double blow when it was suspended by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) late on Thursday night and then by the Union Sports Ministry on Friday over allegations of irregularities in its elections held on September 23.
The IABF indicated on Friday that it was ready for re-elections.
A statement put up on the AIBA website said, “further to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) suspension imposed on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the AIBA Executive Committee Bureau has decided today (December 6) to provisionally suspend the IABF.
“This provisional suspension is also due to the fact that AIBA had learned about possible manipulation of the recent IABF’s election. AIBA will now investigate this election and especially a potential political link between IOA president, as former chairman of the IABF, and the IABF election,” added the statement, pointing at IOA president-elect Abhay Chautala.
An AIBA spokesperson, Sébastien Gillot, told The Hindu in an email that the world body would take appropriate action after thoroughly probing the issue.
“AIBA will take all the necessary steps to establish the true facts of the matter. Depending upon the outcome of investigation, AIBA will take the appropriate measures.”
Gillot clarified that the Indian boxers might have to suffer because of the development. “Since the Indian National Olympic Committee is also suspended, there is unfortunately no way Indian boxers can participate in any competition after the (ongoing) AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships Yerevan 2012. AIBA will do its utmost to resolve the situation as soon as possible in the best interest of the athletes.”
The next major event on the AIBA calendar is the World junior championship in Ukraine in August next year.
Later, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh announced about the Ministry’s decision to suspend the IABF, which had violated the election procedures laid down in the National Sports Code.
The violations pertained to publication of electoral rolls, time given for filing of nominations and nomination of candidates on the floor of the house, among other points.
“A notice will be sent to the IABF to confirm that they will hold fresh elections under independent supervision within a period of 15days failing which the de-recognition will be made absolute,” said the minister.
Speaking about the suspensions, IABF president Abhishek Matoria said, “We have been exchanging letters with the AIBA for the last 15-20 days. The AIBA had certain queries about our elections and had asked us to provide minutes of the proceedings. We had provided them with all the information they had sought.”
The IABF on Friday replied to the AIBA’s suspension letter and asked its officials present in Yerevan to talk to the AIBA top bosses about the issue.
“They should have told us why they have a problem with the elections. Our biggest concern is that the boxers should not suffer because of this,” said Matoria.
On the Government’s decision to suspend the IABF, Matoria said, “We had met the minister and cleared all doubts.”
Meanwhile, Abhay Chautala, whose unexpected nomination as the IABF chairman was a major controversy, said he was ready to step down if that would help the IABF.
“If they (AIBA) have any problem with my post, I am ready to quit,” said Chautala, who had completed three terms as the IABF president earlier this year.
Chautala asserted that the elections were conducted in a “transparent” manner.
“We are ready for a re-election. The AIBA can send its observer and fix the date also.”
The Sports Minister said his ministry would try to speak to the AIBA to set in place interim measures so that the athletes were not affected in any way.