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Growing concerns voiced over Boxing India’s temporary approval

Friday, 20 June 2014 By Manali Kulkarni
This week's Indian sports law update takes a look at two on-going boxing matters, both concerning the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA’s) 1 provisional approval of Boxing India and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) 2 president's involvement in the process. The first part addresses the IOA Secretary General’s remarks about the lack of correspondence between the IOA president and the IOA executive committee and explains the complications of the AIBA’s application of its Statutes when provisionaly approving Boxing India. The update continues by summarizing the conflict between the AIBA and Hockey India’s (HI) 3 general secretary, Narinder Batra, resulting from Batra’s statements on AIBA’s decision on Boxing India.

IOA Secretary General questions Boxing India’s temporary approval

After being recognized by both the IOA and the AIBA, Boxing India: Bout Outside the Ring4, was provisionally approved, as of May 16, 2014, as the National Member Federation temporarily governing boxing in India until a new federation is formally established.5 
Since the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) was suspended by the AIBA in March 20146, Indian boxers have been competing under the AIBA flag for international competitions. By approving Boxing India, the AIBA and the IOA permit Indian boxers to compete under the Indian flag with an established governing body for the sport in India. This is significant in with the upcoming Commonwealth and Asian Games.  Boxing India will remain provisionally approved until it holds a General Assembly for new elections7, which - under Chapter 10 of the ‘AIBA Bylaws’8 and Rule 29 of the Olympic Charter9 - must be approved by the international federation (AIBA) and the national Olympic Committee (IOA) to be “recognised” as a national federation.
However, the IOA’s secretary general, Rajeev Mehta, has voiced his concerns about the IOA president, N Ramachandran, supporting the AIBA’s decision to temporarily approve Boxing India. Mehta claimed that Ramachandran did not consult the rest of the IOA executive committee when the president approved Boxing India10, which Mehta argues is a violation of the AIBA Statutes.11
Mehta wrote in a letter to Ramachandran about the matter:
There is no power with president/secretary general/treasurer to recognise any federation. The power lies with General Assembly (of the IOA). This may be noted strictly and we should not be seen in violation of our own statutes," he said in the letter with copies marked to all IOA Executive Committee members.12

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Written by

Manali Kulkarni

Manali Kulkarni

Manali is currently a fourth year JD Candidate at the University of Maine School of Law. She was the COO at LawInSport and continues to be an executive contributor of the editorial board for LawInSport. She holds an LLM in Sports Law from Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University). She is currently the legal extern for the Professional Collegiate League, and also serves as an intern for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. 

Comments (2)

  • Kaypee

    • 24 June 2014 at 05:06
    • #

    Where will AIBA sue Batra if it decides to sue? Will it be in an Indian court? Can its sue Batra in any other court? The Indian legal process takes years and years. Will AIBA be prepared to spend that kind of money on a defamation suit?


  • Manali Kulkarni

    • 13 July 2014 at 04:23
    • #

    Thanks for your comments, Kaypee. All very good questions, which are difficult to answer; I suspect AIBA will be asking themselves the same things internally right now.

    As to location, if the defamation has spread to detrimentally affect AIBA's reputation in jurisdictions outside of India, then, depending on the peculiarities of local defamation and jurisdictional laws, AIBA may well have options to commence proceedings in foreign courts.

    As to costs, it is difficult to estimate what it may end up costing AIBA, as litigation costs can vary dramatically depending on a variety of variable criteria. It really is a matter for AIBA to decide on internally, and I imagine they'll undertake a costs / benefit analysis before commencing any action.

    Of course, it is by no means certain that AIBA will choose to pursue the case. That will largely depend upon the legal advice they receive on the merits. And even if they do have a very good case, they are very likely to negotiate with Batra in private prior to issuing any proceedings to try to resolve the dispute more quickly and efficiently than having to submit to a potentially lengthy and public examination of the facts and allegations in the Courts (which they may well want to avoid given the nature of the allegations).

    We'll all be keeping a close eye on how things progress.

    I hope this addresses your points. Please e-mail me directly or reply here with any further questions.


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