India is facing a resumption of its ban from international boxing after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) rejected Boxing India's application for national federation recognition, instead backing the controversial Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF).
This body, run by Ashok Matoria - the brother-in-law of Abhay Chautala, the IOA President when it served a 14-month suspension from the International Olympic Committee, lifted in February - was suspended by the Indian Government and International Boxing Association (AIBA) in December 2012 for not holding elections under the Olympic Charter.
But the IOA reached a unanimous decision at its Annual General Meeting in Chennai, India throwing up a difficult situation in which one body is recognised by its parent international body, while the other has the backing of the national apex sports body.
It thus leaves India at risk of a resumption of a ban from international events, lifted in February 2013 after a long-running dispute between the international body and the IABF.
"The matter was discussed at length and the Executive Committee was unanimous in its view that for the IOA, the recognised body will be the IABF," said current IOA President N. Ramachandran following the decision, flanked by secretary general Rajeev Mehta.
"There were disputes and IOA constituted an Ad Hoc Committee, but subsequently AIBA recognised Boxing India.
"IOA took up the matter with AIBA President [C K Wu].
"We wanted the elections to be held under the aegis of IOA with AIBA observers present.
"AIBA did not accept these suggestions and BI held its elections under the supervision of AIBA where neither Government of India nor IOA observers was present."
Speaking to The Times of India, BI President Sandeep Jajodia termed the move a "retrograde" one, adding that the IOA was indulging in "adhocism".
"This is an unfortunate development for boxing in the country," he said.
"We conducted free and fair elections in the presence of an AIBA observer.
"Within a month of being recognised by AIBA, we conducted the women's nationals and are set to hold the men's nationals in January.
"What logical reason does the IOA have for not offering us recognition and instead offering its support to a now-defunct IABF?
"This is nothing but an influenced move, a politically motivated one."
The AIBA bestowed full membership on BI in September, following which the latter applied to the IOA and Sports Ministry for recognition.
"Our view is that if an election of a sports federation in India is held it is but natural for the IOA to be informed," added Ramachandran.
"More so, when there is a dispute between two groups.
"Shutting out the IOA will not do good to any sport.
"Unilateral sanction by the international body cannot be accepted.
"There were numerous complaints that we received regarding irregularities during the elections.
"Autonomy of IOA cannot be compromised under any circumstance."
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