AMATEURS

The process could lead to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee with­draw­ing recog­ni­tion for AIBA, writes John Den­nen

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IOC in­ves­ti­gate world gov­ern­ing body

THE IOC (the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee) have launched an in­quiry into AIBA. This could lead to the IOC with­draw­ing their recog­ni­tion of AIBA and ul­ti­mately puts at risk box­ing’s place as an Olympic sport.

The ex­ec­u­tive board did ac­knowl­edge some points of progress that AIBA have made but em­pha­sised sig­nif­i­cant con­cern over its gover­nance, ethics and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment. Plan­ning for an Olympic box­ing tour­na­ment at Tokyo 2020 has been frozen. This in­cludes con­tacts be­tween AIBA and the Tokyo 2020 Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee, ticket sales, test event plan­ning, fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion sched­ule and even the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem.

While fi­nan­cial pay­ments to AIBA have been sus­pended, the IOC will lift the freez­ing of Olympic Sol­i­dar­ity fund­ing for ath­letes, on the con­di­tion that no fund­ing can be ap­plied for or paid through a na­tional box­ing fed­er­a­tion.

In a state­ment the IOC did say that they will make “all ef­forts to pro­tect the ath­letes and en­sure that a box­ing tour­na­ment can take place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 re­gard­less of these mea­sures”.

But there are ma­jor ob­sta­cles that threaten the sta­tus of the sport. The IOC point to au­di­tors EY say­ing “un­cer­tainty still per­sists about the abil­ity of the or­gan­i­sa­tions to con­tinue as a go­ing con­cern” and the IOC un­der­stands that AIBA is un­able to main­tain or open a bank ac­count in Switzer­land where it is based. The IOC was also clear that the US Trea­sury depart­ment des­ig­nat­ing Ga­fur Rakhi­mov as “a key mem­ber and as­so­ciate of a transna­tional or­gan­ised crim­i­nal net­work” cre­ated un­cer­tainty about his role as AIBA pres­i­dent, which seems some­thing of an un­der­state­ment. But Rakhi­mov says, “I can as­sure the IOC that the sit­u­a­tion with US au­thor­i­ties based on false al­le­ga­tions by the pre­vi­ous regime of my coun­try is be­ing ad­dressed and that my le­gal team is work­ing hard to cor­rect this.”

AIBA in­sist their fi­nances have sta­b­lised. They also main­tain they are im­prov­ing the ref­er­ee­ing and judg­ing of their com­pe­ti­tions. Also their anti-dop­ing pro­gramme is now fully com­pli­ant with the WADA code.

But half­way through an Olympic cy­cle there is no con­fir­ma­tion of a qual­i­fy­ing sys­tem for Tokyo 2020, what weight cat­e­gories would fea­ture or even if there will be an Olympic box­ing tour­na­ment. It’s a des­per­ate time for Olympic box­ing and the sport as a whole.

Photo: AIBA

UN­CER­TAINTY: Rakhi­mov’s role is one of the prob­lems AIBA must ad­dress

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