The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) has been provisionally excluded by the sport's global governing body, the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), it was announced on Monday. The IABF had already been suspended in December 2012 but the AIBA had promised to review that decision once the International Olympic Committee had lifted its suspension of the Indian Olympic Association, which it did last month just prior to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. (Picture is for representational purpose only)
However, in a strongly-worded statement on Monday the AIBA said that, having looked at the situation again, they had no option but to go a step further and provisionally exclude the IABF. "It is with much regret that the International Boxing Association Executive Committee (EC) has decided to end any official relationship with its current suspended member, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation after an extensive evaluation and assessment of all issues surrounding the sport of boxing in India.
"After the suspension since December 6, 2012, AIBA has not recognized any official activities and did not support the officers from this National Federation for almost 16 months.
"However, AIBA promised itself to review the situation in IABF when the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) gets its suspension lifted by IOC.
"Nevertheless, before and after the IOA election and lifting of suspension, AIBA received different claims from various groups of people on the way the sport of boxing was managed in India and it has therefore now become totally impossible for AIBA to make proper judgments in terms of handling the National Federation's affairs in India."
The AIBA, whose president is the reformist Wu Ching-Kuo of Taiwan, said the situation would be maintained until they felt that a group of people they could deal with had been elected to run amateur boxing in India.
"Based on the reasons set out above and in accordance with article 18.2 of the AIBA Statutes, the IABF is now provisionally excluded from AIBA Membership as of today (Monday).
"The AIBA EC will make a final decision and rehabilitate a National Federation for boxing in India as soon as it deems that it has found the right group of people who will support the principles of AIBA in terms of ethics and fairness and who care primarily about the boxers and our beloved sport and not about their personal interests.
"AIBA will now wait for requests by any organization or person to submit an application and once contacted, full guidelines for the new application process will be given."
Secretary-general of the IABF, Rajesh Bhandari, told NDTV, "We are not even sure why they have done this. We told them we are open to enquiries, if they think our elections were manipulated. But they went ahead with this decision, without conducting any kind of enquiry."
At the world championships in Kazakhstan last year, India's pugilists competed under the AIBA flag, and not the tri-colour. But there've been more repercussions than just that. There have been no boxing nationals in any age category for two years now. Indians have participated in fewer international tournaments, only four in 2013, compared to about 8-10 in the previous years.
Earlier, Indians have also had exposure trips of 90 days per year. In 2013, there were none. Not just that, Monnet, the official sponsors of the Indian boxing contingent, have stopped releasing funds since the suspension, simply because they don't know who to give the money to.
Sources have told NDTV that the new office bearers of the Indian Olympic Association wrote to the world boxing federation, asking for the old officials, including Abhay Chautala, to be reinstated. And that was pretty much the final nail in the coffin.
(with inputs from NDTV's boxing correspondent)