Sport faces break­away threat ahead of Tokyo

Albuquerque Journal - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL -

MOSCOW — Am­a­teur box­ing faces a break­away threat ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after its in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tion elected a pres­i­dent ac­cused of ties to or­ga­nized crime.

The fed­er­a­tion, known as AIBA, says a “rogue group” led by un­named “Kaza­khstani in­di­vid­u­als” has asked na­tional box­ing fed­er­a­tions to write to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee offering to help run an Olympic tour­na­ment with­out AIBA.

AIBA pub­lished late Fri­day what it said was a sam­ple let­ter or­ga­nized by the break­away group. The un­signed let­ter ad­dressed to the IOC says “our group is ready to pro­vide with the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise and suf­fi­cient fi­nan­cial con­di­tions” to run the tour­na­ment, cit­ing “the dire sit­u­a­tion of the sport of box­ing.”

Re­la­tions be­tween the IOC and AIBA are tense after Uzbek­istan busi­ness­man Ga­fur Rakhi­mov was elected AIBA pres­i­dent in Novem­ber, beat­ing Kazakh can­di­date Serik Kon­akbayev.

The U.S. Trea­sury De­part­ment has al­leged Rakhi­mov is a heroin traf­ficker linked to or­ga­nized crime and placed him un­der sanc­tions.

AIBA risks be­ing dere­c­og­nized in June after an IOC in­quiry panel re­ports. Un­til then, AIBA is banned from con­tact­ing 2020 Tokyo Olympic or­ga­niz­ers.

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