India decries knockout by boxing governing body
India's boxing federation reacts furiously after being effectively expelled by the sport's world governing body - by Dibyangshu Sarkar
In a fresh embarrassment for the country's sports administrators, the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) on Monday decided to exclude the Indian association from its ranks until the current leadership had been replaced with "honest" officials.
The AIBA had suspended the Indian federation in December 2012 over allegations of manipulation in its elections, but the new sanction means there is no way back until there is a complete overhaul at the top.
Rajesh Bhandari, secretary-general of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, said the move was completely unfair.
"It is most unfortunate that they have taken a decision which is not only shocking, but also one-sided and arbitrary," Bhandari told AFP.
"How can you keep a national federation out just on the basis of some unsubstantiated allegations? They have not given us any chance to explain ourselves.
"We are ready for any probe. If someone has committed a mistake, they must penalise him. But how can they blacklist the entire federation?"
As a result of the suspension, India's boxers will not be allowed to compete in international events under the national flag in upcoming events such as the Commonwealth and Asian Games later this year.
Indian sports has been mired in scandal in recent years, with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) frozen out of the Olympic family for electing officials accused of corruption.
The International Olympic Committee lifted the IOA's suspension during the recent Winter Games in Sochi after new officials were elected in the presence of international observers.
"It's really sad that India is having to face such embarrassments repeatedly. It is time our officials looked within and cleaned up their act," a former official of the IABF told AFP Tuesday.
"We cannot live in denial always. We must clean the game from top to bottom if we are to move with our heads high," he said, requesting anonymity.