Mired in controversies and postponed once, the much-anticipated elections to put in place India's new boxing federation will be overseen by an observer from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to ensure that free and fair polls are conducted on September 11.
The elections are being conducted by Boxing India, the interim body recognised by AIBA after the national federation was terminated earlier this year following a suspension dating back to 2012.
"Ms Cliodhna Guy, from AIBA's legal department will be in Mumbai on September 11 to oversee the proceedings. She will put together a full report of the process and submit the video recording of it to AIBA," Boxing India member Udit Seth told PTI in an interview.
"It is as per the standard rules, all national federation elections are overseen by AIBA. It will be a secret ballot and and video recording will also be done. The Returning Officer is a retired Chief Justice of High Court and it will be a secret ballot. So, everything possible has been done to ensure transparency," he said.
Besides, Boxing India has also requested the Sports Ministry to send an observer.
"For the last two-three months, we have been trying to put together a free election process and requesting a ministry observer is just one of them," he said.
The run-up to the elections, which were originally scheduled for July 9, has been bumpy at best as several state units have expressed open dissatisfaction with Boxing India's handling of the responsibility.
But Seth said the members can expect a free and fair process in Mumbai on September 11.
"We have been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting a fair election by the AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu. Our job is to deliver on that promise. Every election has its share of allegations and counter-allegations and this is no difference. So it's a normal process," he said.
"But I only want to say that it is the last chance given to the sport. It is the responsibility of every state unit to come together for the sport and not position," added Seth, who is also the Managing Director of Transstadia, the company which owns the India franchise of the World Series of Boxing. Boxing India is a consortium of former administrators and corporates and also includes CMD of long-time Indian boxing sponsor Monnet Ispat Limited, Sandeep Jajodia.
The group had most recently faced opposition from the Indian Olympic Association, which expressed its desire to conduct the election due to the wrangling among state units.
"The National Olympic Committee cannot conduct elections to the federation. That is always done in coordination with the international parent body. I have nothing more to say on this," he said.
"These elections are very important. We have to put a body in place to ensure that our boxers compete in the Asian Games. Our only objective is to put boxers back in the ring with full honours," he explained.