New Delhi: The International Boxing Association's decision to terminate India from its fold is set to be a blessing in disguise for the IBF which would now be forced to conduct fresh elections, something that the present set of office-bearers had been adamantly resisting.
The decision to terminate IBF has, in fact, come as a shot in the arm for the anti-Abhay Chautala faction which will seek the AIBA's permission to be a part of the new federation which would be set up under the watchful gaze of the world body.
The Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) was suspended in December 2012 and was instructed to hold a fresh election as the world body felt that the polls held back then in September were possibly manipulated.
But the officials running the Indian body turned a deaf ear to repeated warnings by the AIBA, insisting that the ones in office -- President Abhishek Matoria and Secretary General Rajesh Bhandari -- would eventually be recognised.
Much to their dismay, the AIBA has hardened its stand and taken matters into its own hands by deciding "to give the opportunity to any group of people with passion and love for our sport to submit applications for the establishment of a new National Federation."
This opportunity is set to be latched on by the group of state units which has been opposing the former IBF President Chautala. "The membership rights of India are now gone. The IBF will have no representation in the AIBA but the good thing is that now the AIBA will itself handle the entire situation. There will be direct correspondence between AIBA and those wanting a change. This way, a clean set of office-bearers would take charge," a source told PTI.
The faction opposing Chautala, whose brother-in-law Abhishek Matoria took over as President in the ill-fated 2012 elections, comprises more than 20 of the 35 IBF units.
This faction has made a small committee headed by West Bengal Unit chief Asit Banerjee and has been communicating with the AIBA. The last meeting of this group took place on February 23 in Guwahati.
"We will write to AIBA very soon and seek their permission for calling a meeting to amend the constitution to make it compliant with the AIBA statute besides fixing a date for fresh IBF elections," an official said.
"Once the fresh election is conducted to AIBA's satisfaction, India will get provisional affiliation before being formally re-inducted during the AIBA congress (scheduled from November 8 to 15 in Jeju Islands, South Korea)," he added.
"Till that time, we won't have any voting rights in AIBA but that's alright because at least a new body would be in place." Earlier, in a tersely-worded missive, the AIBA terminated India stating that it was not in a position to make a "proper" judgement on how to handle the country's case after receiving conflicting communications from various stakeholders.
The boxers and coaches will, however, continue to remain unaffected by the termination and can participate in international events under the AIBA flag till the time the crisis is unresolved.
"It is with much regret that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Executive Committee (EC) has decided to end any official relationship with its current suspended member, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) after an extensive evaluation and assessment of all issues surrounding the sport of boxing in India," the world body said in its latest missive.
AIBA President Ching Kuo Wu said the IBF is unlikely to be re-recognised till the time a new set of officials take charge after fresh elections, the screening of candidates for which would be done by the world body.
"As AIBA President and on behalf of the entire boxing family, I am expressing my deepest regret and sadness that we had to make this decision," stated Dr Wu. "AIBA has always regarded India as one of the most important members of its family, but it has become impossible for us to bear the hard feelings, the pain and suffering the boxers as well as the boxing family in India had to go through under the past and recent leadership which has also been damaging the image, reputation and interest of our sport in the country," he added.
After provisionally suspending the IBF on December 6, 2012, AIBA has not recognised any official activities and did not support the Indian officials for almost 16 months.
However, AIBA promised to review the situation when the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had its suspension lifted by the IOC.