Thrown into disarray by a provisional suspension, the Indian Boxing Federation has been offered a glimmer of hope by its parent body AIBA, which has asked it to hold a re-election and amend its constitution to get the ban revoked.
IABF's senior vice-President Brig. P K Muralidharan Raja, who met AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu in Yerevan, Armenia on Friday and Saturday, said that the suspension "would not last long".
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) had, on Friday, suspended IABF, citing the International Olympic Committee's ban on the IOA and "possible manipulation" in the IABF's September elections.
But Raja said once the IABF complies with the AIBA directives, the body would lift the suspension as soon as the IOC revokes the ban on the IOA.
"I had a detailed discussion with the AIBA President, who firstly made it clear that AIBA had nothing against India. It was very happy with the way things are being run. The primary reason for the suspension was the IOC ban on the IOA and since AIBA had received some complaints about the election, it decided to investigate that aspect as well," Brig Raja said.
"I clarified to him that the September elections were transparent and held as per our constitution. The floor was unanimous in choosing office-bearers and even though some people may have complaints, it does not mean that the elections were manipulated," he added.
"The AIBA has now asked us to amend our Constitution to make it compliant with the AIBA statute and hold a re-election in the presence of an AIBA observer. Once we do that, the AIBA will lift the suspension the moment IOC lifts the ban on the IOA because that is the primary reason for our suspension," he explained.
Incidentally, the AIBA Statute puts a cap on the President's term at not more than three times while there is no bar on the tenure and age of other office-bearers.
Raja said the IABF will have to hold an election free of any government interference to satisfy AIBA.
"Dr Wu has made it clear, no outside interference will be tolerated. If somebody is fit enough to compete in the elections, his/her age will not be a criteria," he said.
"So, it would first be constitutional amendment, followed by a re-election," he added.
It was a double blow for the IABF on Friday as hours after the AIBA suspension, the Sports Ministry also cracked the whip by suspending its recognition and giving it 15 days to confirm a re-election.
During the September elections of the IABF, outgoing President Abhay Singh Chautala, who was elected IOA President despite IOC's suspension, was retained in the body as nominated Chairman after serving three terms as President.
Interestingly, his brother-in-law and BJP MLA from Rajasthan, Abhishek Matoria, 29, was elected as the new IABF President.
Chautala said the IABF will call a meeting of its General House to discuss the AIBA directives before deciding the future course of action.
"Once Brig. Raja comes back, he will brief us about the discussions with Dr Wu and all that will be put before the General House which will decide the next step," Chautala said.
"The IOC ban cannot be the reason to suspend IABF because by that logic all other federations would also be suspended. It was an unfair decision but hopefully things will be sorted pretty soon," he added.