New Delhi: A miffed International Boxing Association Thursday said it was left with no choice but to suspend the Indian boxers and coaches from world events given the "lack of progress" in resolving the electoral mess that led to IABF's suspension late last year.
"Given the lack of progress made to resolve the situation in India, AIBA has been left with no choice but to extend its suspension to all boxers and coaches until such time as this complicated situation has been resolved," AIBA's PR and Communication Director Sebastien Gillot told PTI in response to an e-mail questionnaire.
The AIBA provisionally suspended the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) in December last year citing the International Olympic Committee's suspension of the Indian Olympic Association and "possible manipulation in its elections".
The international body asked the IABF to hold a re-election and amend its constitution to fulfil the criteria of getting the suspension revoked. The world body had allowed the boxers and coaches to compete in international events in the meantime but that concession has now been taken back.
Gillot said the onus is now on the IABF to act fast and save the athletes any hassle. "AIBA strongly urges the IABF to do its utmost to resolve the situation as soon as possible, in the best interests of the athletes. In the meantime, AIBA is unable to give any further comment on this situation," he said. The IABF claimed ignorance of this new missive from AIBA.
"They are not communicating with us anymore. We are totally in a fix. If this new directive is true than Indian boxing has been dealt a massive blow," said a top IABF official. Earlier this month, the Indian Boxing Federation claimed to have taken the first step towards regaining recognition by preparing the draft of an amended constitution compliant with the AIBA statute.
In the new draft prepared by the IABF officials, rules and provisions of AIBA Professional Boxing and the World Series of Boxing have been incorporated, as suggested by the world body. Besides, the ground rules and eligibility criteria for the elections have also been clearly laid out. Incidentally, the AIBA Statute puts a cap on the President's tenure at not more than three successive terms but there is no bar on the tenure and age of other office-bearers.
During the September elections of the IABF, outgoing President Abhay Singh Chautala was made a nominated chairman following constitutional amendments and his brother-in-law and Rajasthan BJP MLA Abhishek Matoria, 29, took over as the new President after the house authorised Chautala to pick the new head.
Interestingly, Matoria had no known links to Indian boxing and some of the IABF officials were left stunned when he took over the position with Rajesh Bhandari as Secretary General.
The election process was questioned by the Sports Ministry before AIBA stepped in to provisionally suspend the federation. The Sports Ministry consequently de-recognised IABF and directed the body to hold fresh elections.