The International Olympic Committee has effectively put boxing’s participation at Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games on notice, as amateur boxing body AIBA continues in crisis. The threat from the IOC comes after the Olympic body held an executive meeting in Pyeongchang, South Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics which set to commence this week. The IOC during the meeting remains concerned over the position of boxing with the sport’s governing body AIBA, resulting in the IOC to open an investigation into the ethics and governance of AIBA. The global governing body for amateur boxing has been in turmoil with governance with a bitter power struggle which has seen former president CK Wu resign from his role as president in November with Franco Falcinelli take the helm as interim president before resigning himself last month. AIBA thus, in turn, appointed Gafur Rakhimov as the new interim president, who himself is a tarnished figure currently under US sanctions due to his links with organised crime in association to the Thieves-in-Law crime syndicate.
Amongst governance issues, AIBA is currently embroiled in financial issues with major creditors in China and Azerbaijani group Benkons, with AIBA recently agreeing to a deal with Benkons preventing any immediate repayment of a $10million loan provided by the group. The financial issues have been laid firmly at the door of former AIBA president CK Wu by the new interim management of AIBA, despite Falcenlli wishing to appoint Wu as an honorary president of AIBA last month of which was rejected by AIBA’s congress.
The IOC took the steps in December to freeze payments due to AIBA in helping provide and facilitate the organisation, only in the cases of facilitating IOC sanctioned events such as the 2018 youth Olympics due to be held Buenos Aries, Argentina. The IOC is expected to produce a report from the recently announced investigation into AIBA by the end of April.
The IOC has expressed further issues into AIBA citing judging of contests and referring along with issues into anti-doping.
The IOC’s stance regarding AIBA is disappointing yet understandable as the current ongoing crisis cannot continue for the sake of the sport at the amateur level of the sport. Drastic changes and shakeups are required by AIBA to regain credibility as an organisation fit for purpose, with many figures within the sport seeing the organisation as unruly, unorganised and at times shambolic with inconsistencies and lack of purposeful direction.
The IOC’s conclusions and decisions regarding AIBA from 4th of February’s executive meeting are as follows:
The IOC Executive Board (EB) is not satisfied with the report prepared by AIBA on its governance, finance, refereeing and anti-doping issues. Therefore, the EB maintains its decision of 6 December 2017.
The IOC EB confirms the opening of an investigation into the governance of AIBA by the IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.
The IOC EB suspends any financial payments to AIBA, including directly boxing-related payments scheduled by Olympic Solidarity.
The IOC EB is freezing all contacts with AIBA, except the ones on the working level which are necessary to implement the respective IOC decisions.
The IOC EB requires a further report by AIBA by 30 April 2018.
The IOC EB reiterates that the IOC decisions regarding the event and athlete quota for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are final.
The IOC reserves the right to review the inclusion of boxing on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.