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Year End 2023: Sports Scandals: From the Legendary Hermoso-Rubiales Kiss to the Brij Bhushan-Wrestlers Saga

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<p>A swarm of high-profile athletic scandals enthralled the public in 2023. From the Jantar Mantar demonstration over claims of sexual harassment made against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to the lucrative but controversial Grand Slam wins of Novak Djokovic. Tensions between India and China prevented Wushu players from participating in the Asian Games; Everton’s shocking 10-point punishment ignited controversy in the Premier League; and a famous kiss incident ruined the FIFA Women’s World Cup festivities. 2023 was a year marked by both controversy and great success.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-322866″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-year-end-2023-sports-scandals-from-the-legendary-hermoso-rubiales-kiss-to-the-brij-750×712.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com year end 2023 sports scandals from the legendary hermoso rubiales kiss to the brij” width=”1173″ height=”1114″ title=”Year End 2023: Sports Scandals: From the Legendary Hermoso-Rubiales Kiss to the Brij Bhushan-Wrestlers Saga 9″ srcset=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-year-end-2023-sports-scandals-from-the-legendary-hermoso-rubiales-kiss-to-the-brij-750×712.jpg 750w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-year-end-2023-sports-scandals-from-the-legendary-hermoso-rubiales-kiss-to-the-brij-1024×972.jpg 1024w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-year-end-2023-sports-scandals-from-the-legendary-hermoso-rubiales-kiss-to-the-brij-768×729.jpg 768w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-year-end-2023-sports-scandals-from-the-legendary-hermoso-rubiales-kiss-to-the-brij-150×142.jpg 150w, https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/theindiaprint.com-year-end-2023-sports-scandals-from-the-legendary-hermoso-rubiales-kiss-to-the-brij.jpg 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 1173px) 100vw, 1173px” /></p>
<p><strong>WFI ROW: FROM SAKSHI MALIK’S RETIREMENT TO JANTAR MANTAR HARTAL</strong></p>
<p>The greatest wrestlers in the country fought against former WFI leader Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh in 2023, a year that would always be known for his alleged sexual harassment of women’s wrestlers.</p>
<p>Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallists including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, and Sakshi Malik led the first sit-in protest that sparked a national outcry and dominated news headlines for the rest of the year.</p>
<p>After receiving assurances from the country’s Union Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, the wrestlers called for the creation of an independent commission to investigate the complaint, and the WFI was given oversight by a committee led by the renowned boxer MC Mary Kom. The Jantar Mantar protest was also called off.</p>
<p>The wrestlers rekindled the protest in April when police did not file a report against Brij Bhushan. They then petitioned the Supreme Court to make a formal charge against the Gonda native.</p>
<p>Following the involvement of the SC, police filed a formal complaint as the street hartal persisted.</p>
<p>A brawl broke out between protesters and police in May, with the protesters accusing the police of mistreating demonstrators and abusing several female wrestlers.</p>
<p>The Delhi police recorded the testimonies made by the wrestlers who had filed the complaint against the former leader on March 5 and again on March 10 by Brij Bhushan.</p>
<p>Before the wrestlers chose to throw their medals into the river in Haridwar to protest the injustice, Punia, Malik, and Phogat were arrested on May 29 for obstructing public servants in the performance of their duties when they attempted to march to the new Parliamentary house on the day of the inauguration.</p>
<p>Anurag Thakur assures the wrestlers that once the investigation into Brij Bhushan is finished, there will be a WFI election to choose a new president of the federation. However, a major development is the father of one of the female wrestlers who had filed the complaint admits to deliberately making false accusations in order to get revenge.</p>
<p>The scandalous circumstance led to several postponements and rescheduling of the WFI elections amid a storm of public outcry and an overall sense of an unending blame game.</p>
<p>A divide developed in the wrestling community when six seasoned wrestlers, including Punia and Phogat, were granted direct entrance into the Asian Games in the midst of chaos. A number of young wrestlers and their parents demanded that the exemption be removed.</p>
<p>Prior to United World Wrestling, the governing body of the sport, suspending the WFI for running the election late, states including Assam, Punjab, and Haryana halted the WFI poll.</p>
<p>The race between former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anita Sheoran and Brij Bhushan-loyalist Sanjay Singh was eventually rescheduled to take place on December 21st, with the dissatisfied wrestlers supporting the former.</p>
<p>To the wrestlers’ dismay, however, Sanjay Singh won handily, starting a chain of events that left fans of the sport traumatized across the country. Sakshi Malik, for example, announced her retirement in a heartfelt interview following the election of the Brij Bhushan loyalist, and Punia chose to return his Padma Shri.</p>
<p>The story took a further turn when the wrestling Federation announced that the U15 and U20 nationals would be held in Gonda, the stronghold of Brij Bhushan, and the Sports Ministry suspended the recently established WFI organization due to a lack of openness.</p>
<p><strong>“KOSOVO IS AT THE HEART OF SERBIA”: THE CONTROVERSIAL MESSAGE OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC IN PARIS</strong></p>
<p>Tennis legend Novak Djokovic made 2023 memorable by winning three of the four Grand Slam tournaments and finishing at the top of the standings at the conclusion of the year.</p>
<p>With the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open wins the Serbian put him one win away from longtime rival Rafael Nadal’s grand slam total of 22 championships.</p>
<p>The 36-year-old celebrity had a fantastic start to the year when he returned to Australia after being disqualified from the opening grand slam of the previous season for his anti-vaccination views. The Serbian was denied the opportunity to defend his championship and was sent back from Australia.</p>
<p>But this time, the vaccination restrictions were dropped, and the Serbian went on to win a record-tying 10th AO championship and dominate the competition in Australia.</p>
<p>The French squad and players who had won the FIFA World Cup, such as Olivier Giroud, watched Djokovic go on to win in France. Though Djokovic’s championship in Paris wasn’t without controversy, he was criticized for signing a camera with the lines “Kosovo is at the heart of Serbia” in the midst of escalating tensions in the Balkans over the sensitive topic of Kosova’s status and Serbs’ perception of it as an anonymous territory.</p>
<p>The majority of people living in the northern part of Kosovo are Serbians, who have never recognized Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia and still see Belgrade as their capital.</p>
<p>After receiving a barrage of criticisms and remarks, Djokovic chose not to let the criticism stop him from winning the clay-court championship for the third time in his career.</p>
<p>Due to a “stapled visa,” Wushu athletes were denied Asian glory as Indo-Chinese relations deteriorated.</p>
<p>The hopes and expectations of the three Arunachal Pradesh-born Wushu athletes—Mepung Lamgu, Nyeman Wangsu, and Onilu Tega—for the Asian Games were dashed when they were denied permission to enter China due to a visa dispute.</p>
<p>China, which views the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Tibet, gave the athletes stapled visas rather than stamped ones, which was seen as a challenge to India’s authority over the region.</p>
<p>As a result, the athletes were unable to fly to Hangzhou for the games since India does not recognize visas with staples as legitimate.</p>
<p>Since the conflict in 1962 over disputed land concerns along the Himalayan boundary, India and China have been unhappy neighbors. Recently, tensions have increased as a result of the deaths of 20 Indian and 4 Chinese troops in the area.</p>
<p>As China released its most recent official map, which claimed sections of northeast India as its territory, tensions increased even further.</p>
<p>Union Minister Kiren Rijiju struck home with a statement that read, “Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory but an inalienable part of India.” AP Chief Minister Pema Kandhu said that the three athletes and their coach would be considered part of the national contingent for the event and would be granted all incentives and benefits, despite the fact that the trio missed out on the continental games. The people of Arunachal Pradesh as a whole are adamantly against China’s unlawful claims to its territory and population.</p>
<p><strong>EVERTON POINT DEDUCTION: DOES THE RIGHTY GET AWAY WITH IT WHEN THE OTHERS SUFFER?</strong></p>
<p>Due to financial violations, Premier League team Everton was hit with a severe 10-point reduction from their league total in the 2023–24 season. This historic decision infuriated the Merseyside club.</p>
<p>The historic club was hit with a severe penalty after an impartial commission determined that the Toffees had lost $233 million over the course of three years—more than the amount that could have been legally allowed during that period. This was done in breach of the Profit and Sustainability Rules.</p>
<p>Everton fell into the relegation zone after being robbed of ten well-earned points in a decision that was criticized as being very severe by supporters of the team and the sport, respectively.</p>
<p>Sean Dyche, the squad’s seasoned manager, has nonetheless orchestrated a comeback in the team’s fortunes after the decision reduced the team’s point total, stringing together a few wins to lift the team out of the drop zone.</p>
<p>After 18 games this season, the Liverpudlian team has 8 victories, 2 draws, and 8 defeats, placing them above the fall zone.</p>
<p>The famous Hermoso-Rubioles kiss and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023</p>
<p>Thanks to a lone goal by Olga Cramona in the summit match, the Spanish women’s team made history by defeating the English women 1-0 in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 final in Australia to capture their first-ever WC championship.</p>
<p>However, what was meant to be a perfect day for the Spanish players became a flashpoint for controversy when player Jenni Hermoso was drawn in by former RFEF president Luis Rubiales for an unwanted lip kiss during the presentation ceremony.</p>
<p>Following the event, there was a wave of sympathy for Hermoso, who said that the gesture made her feel uneasy and demanded that real steps be taken to remove Rubiales from his position as head of the federation.</p>
<p>The 46-year-old, who first called the critics idiots, later apologized for his actions, but it did not help his case that the incident came after years of unrest in Spain’s women’s football scene, forcing a few players to forgo wearing the national shirt until significant administrative changes were made.</p>
<p>In defense of his stance, he said that it was an emotional time and declared that he would not resign from his leadership position at the RFEF in spite of strong requests to do so.</p>
<p>As the matter became political, protests in the streets of Spain persisted, and FIFA banned RFEF for influence from outside parties.</p>
<p>Rubiales received support from his mother, who sequestered herself in the nearby church, while the country of Spain was forced to respond to the increasingly loud pleas for action. On the other hand, the whole squad that won the World Cup as well as a few additional players said that they would not play for the team unless Rubiales was fired.</p>
<p>In an effort to address the problems ailing the nation’s women’s football program, the federation of the proudly patriotic nation ultimately decided it had no choice but to fire Rubalies and the team’s championship-winning coach, Rubiales-loyalist Jorge Vilda, who had guided the squad to its first-ever World Cup trophy.</p>
<p><strong>SUPER LEAGUE OVER EUROPE</strong></p>
<p>On December 21, the European Court of Justice granted approval for the creation of the European Super League, an idea that has been simmering for some time. The judges observed that UEFA, the organization in charge of football in Europe, was breaking EU laws by preventing the creation of a new competition such as the Super League.</p>
<p>Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid and a strong supporter of the new competition, has called for the creation of an exclusive league that would include the best clubs from around Europe in a closed or semi-closed league. He sees this as the way ahead for the sport’s future.</p>
<p>For years, Perez has made it clear that he wants to establish a competitive league with more matchups between the best teams in Europe, but without the customary promotion relegation at the conclusion of each season.</p>
<p>The concept gained some traction after what is believed to be a series of matches involving teams from the top five European leagues, as some clubs pushed for the development of the same after a year affected by COVID-19 and the football clubs suffered financial losses.</p>
<p>The Super League idea collapsed in a matter of days as multiple clubs pulled out of the initiative, so the move never materialized. The football fanbase expressed their collective dissent towards the creation of a league that could potentially mean the end of traditional football across countries as we know it.</p>
<p>Nonetheless, this is still a region to watch because of how unstable things are and how unpredictable they may be.</p>


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