Boxing India’s elections go ahead despite concerns from IOA

Published 12 September 2014 | Authored by: Manali Kulkarni

Boxing India (BI)1, India’s provisional member of International Boxing Association (AIBA)2 tasked with governing the country’s boxing, held formal elections yesterday (11 September) in the hope Indian boxers will compete under BI in the upcoming 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014.

Boxing India has recently faced multiple allegations related to the motives and transparency of the elections, which led the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to write to the AIBA requesting that the IOA hold the elections.

This Indian sports law update centers around the allegations against BI, the IOA’s and the AIBA’s consequent actions, and the election results.

Boxing India’s rocky background

To recount events, on 1 April, BI’s predecessor, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, was derecognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports’ (Sports Ministry)3 for failing to comply with directives from them and the AIBA.

On April 2, the IOA created an ad hoc panel4 as a temporary arrangement to govern Indian boxing and allow fighters to continue competing internationally.

BI then formed as a proposed full time replacement, and were recognised by the AIBA as a provisional member for India, and given the right to participate in AIBA-approved Confederation and National events (as set out in Article 12.2 of the AIBA Statues).5 The IOA, however, withheld their judgement on BI.6

AIBA required BI to quickly conduct full elections and revamp their constitution, or have their provisional status withdrawn. Pursuant to Article 13(E)7 of the AIBA Statutes and Article 34 in the AIBA ByLaws,8 BI must submit the results of any election and appointment of their officers to AIBA for approval.

BI faltered organising elections though, with their original proposals in July and then August falling through.9 Given one final chance, September 11 was named as the date,10 with BI hoping for Indian boxers to formally compete under the Indian flag in the upcoming Asian Games.

However, allegations of corruption and malpractice against BI increasingly emerged,11 with the IOA being informed that BI planned to "manipulate the polls" toward its own candidates.12

The situation resulted in the IOA writing to the AIBA asking to be permitted to hold the BI elections,13 explaining they have received multiple allegations from numerous different sources (including a number of state boxing associations and Hockey India’s General Secretary, Narinda Batra),14 expressing concerns about the transparency and ethics behind BI elections, leading the IOA to ask to conduct the BI elections in order to guarantee that they are "free and fair".15

The last day for nominations was set for 6 September, and on 9 September, the AIBA announced that the IOA will not conduct the BI elections, but that they can send a representative to confirm that the elections are clean. In addition, AIBA also confirmed that it would send two observers, Cliodhna Guy, from the AIBA’s legal department, and Kishan Narsi, former panelist on the IOA’s ad hoc panel and now, India's representative for the AIBA, to the BI election, as permitted under Article 14.116 of the AIBA Statutes.17

The results of the election

The elections were conducted yesterday (11 September) as scheduled, and resulted in Sandeep Jajodia being elected unopposed as president. The secretary-general, treasurer, along with ten vice-presidents and the executive council were also elected at the elections.

Of the two AIBA observers at the elections, Kishen Narsi described the elections as “transparent” and “peaceful”.18

The elections results have now been sent to the AIBA Executive Committee for approval. Pursuant to Article 9.219 of the AIBA Statutes, a provisional member can only become a full member - which also establishes them as a National Federation20 - through the ratifying of the Executive Committee's approval by AIBA’s Congress.

Narsi explained that the AIBA may have time to recognize BI as the National Federation prior to the scheduled commencement of the boxing at the Asian Games on 23 September.21

The IOA did not send an observer to the elections, explaining that as the BI is not an affiliate of the IOA, they were not in a position to do so.22

The BI will presumably be required to become a formal IOA-affiliated member for the upcoming Asian Games though, which are organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)23 and recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).24 The IOA decides which athletes represent India in IOC-recognized events; boxers nominated by BI will therefore have to seek IOA approval to compete in the Asian Games, pursuant to Article 2.1 of the Bye-law to Rules 27 and 2825 of the Olympic Charter.

BI is now awaiting the AIBA’s approval. The IOA has yet to release any statement relating to the BI election results.


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About the Author

Manali Kulkarni

Manali Kulkarni

Manali is the COO at LawInSport and executive contributor of the editorial board for LawInSport. She holds an LLM in Sports Law from Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University).

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