AIBA reiterates backing for BFI


NEW DELHI: At a time when the Abhay Singh Chautala-led coterie that ran the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) is attempting a comeback, world body AIBA on Wednesday made clear that the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is the only national federation it recognises in India.

In a letter to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N Ramachandran, AIBA interim president Franco Falcinelli said the Ajay Singh-headed BFI was the recognised federation from the country and “no other national organisation can represent the AIBA affiliation in India”, The Hindu reports.

It is worth recalling that AIBA and the International Olympic Council (IOC) had de-recognised IABF for 'flawed and faulty elections' in 2014.

Additionally, the IOA granted affiliation to the BFI in March this year, with the Sports Ministry also giving it official status as a national sports federation.

The IOA has granted affiliation to the BFI subject to ratification by the executive council/general body of the IOA and it is here that the IABF, with the support of embattled IOA president N Ramachandran, who is himself up for re-election next year, is making its moves.

With presidential elections to the IOA coming up in a few months, Ramachandran, in a desperate bid to hold on to his seat, has reportedly decided to broker a truce with Chautala.

In a letter dated October 23, Ramachandran wrote to IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta: "Till date the IABF continues to be a member of the IOA. Kindly deposit the cheque. By a copy of this letter, I am requesting the treasurer (Anil Khanna) to issue a receipt."

Mehta this week responded by making it clear that the membership of IABF is 'in complete violation of Olympic Charter and constitution of the Indian Olympic Association'. He pointed out that the Ajay Singh-led BFI was granted due recognition in letter dated March 30, 2017, which has to be ratified IOA's executive council at its next general body meeting, which is scheduled for December 14 in Chennai.

"In the recent months, there have been media reports and allegations that you compromise the principles of the Olympic movement for personal agenda. Your new directive to collect affiliation fee as an act of continuing membership of IABF is illegitimate and contradictory by all means. The only explanation to such defiance may be to suit yet another hidden agenda of yours," Mehta wrote in his letter to Ramachandran, accessed by Times of India.

Singh, who is president of the BFI, told TOI, "IOA is risking India's position in the Olympic movement with their petty politics. Abhay Singh Chautala has been banned from holding any post in IOA or national federation. IABF as a body doesn't exist anymore... in fact IABF members resigned from their position and later put in their nomination to take part in BFI elections. BFI is recognised by AIBA as well as Sports Ministry as the national body. To claim that IABF is still a recognised federation just for garnering votes in IOA election is nothing but detrimental for the sport."

For the record, Singh is also the chairman of budget airline Spicejet.

Also Read:

IOA officials spar over BFI, IABF