Wrestling Federation of India seeks visa for Pakistan wrestlers


New Delhi, July 10: Requesting the government to expedite the process of granting visas to the Pakistan squad for the Junior Asian Championships, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Tuesday warned that failure to do so might invite sanctions from the sport’s world body.

The tournament, scheduled to be held from July 17-22, is under a cloud as the government has not yet cleared the visas for the Pakistan contingent. The Pakistan federation has already lodged a complaint with the United World Wrestling (UWW) over the issue.

Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said that failure to give visas to the Pakistani wrestlers may prompt UWW to ban WFI.

“If the government declines to clear the visas, then the world federation may take strong steps against us. Pakistan had complained to the UWW last time as well. They have complained this time also.

“This is a mandatory tournament and Pakistan is a member of the UWW. When a country is allotted a tournament, the host country has to give assurance that there will be no problems. It is our responsibility to ensure clearance of visas,” Singh told the media on Tuesday.

“If this issue is not resolved, UWW may impose heavy penalties on us. They may ban us for a period of one to three years. They may also take away our right to host the event,” he added.

“Except for their women’s team, the entire Pakistan squad, including the men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers, are yet to get their visas.”
With the Tokyo Olympics coming up in a couple of years, Singh felt that any sanctions by UWW will affect India’s medal chances at the Games.

“Either we give the visas or risk getting banned. The WFI had taken up the matter with relevant authorities well on time. Despite all this, if the government declines to give visas, then what more can we do?” he said.
Singh was however confident that the issue will be resolved once WFI presents its case to the government.

“The sports ministry has also given its clearance. Only the home ministry is yet to give clearance. The problem is the Intelligence Bureau’s clearance is necessary for players from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“I have asked for a meeting with the Home Minister. Once I present my case to him, I am sure the Home Minister will give the clearance,” the WFI chief said.

“I am confident that the issue will be resolved once we inform the government about the seriousness of the matter,” he added. IANS