Boxing will remain part of the Tokyo Olympics, but International Olympic Committee leadership does not want the sport’s organizing body for amateur competition involved.
The IOC’s Executive Board recommended Wednesday that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) be suspended and not recognized by the IOC. The full IOC membership is scheduled to vote on the recommendation at the committee’s annual meeting June 24-26, The Associated Press reported.
The Executive Board decided to keep boxing in the Olympics and pursue sanctions against AIBA based on recommendations by the IOC’s Inquiry Committee, which met Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Key points from the Inquiry Committee’s report regarding AIBA:
“AIBA has been unable to demonstrate a sustainable and fair management of refereeing and judging processes and decisions, increasing the lack of confidence that athletes can have in fair competitions.”
Former AIBA interim president Gafur Rahimov – who is on a U.S. Treasury list of sanctioned persons based on his alleged leadership role in organized crime in Uzbekistan – continues to have influence within the association, a situation “that exposes the IOC, the Olympic Movement stakeholders and its partners to unacceptable reputational, legal and financial risks.”
AIBA’s debts and lack of liquidity as highlighted in a report by accounting and auditing firm Deloitte will force AIBA to use most of its revenue from the Tokyo Games and other future events to cover existing obligations. “Thus, AIBA will not be able to use the money from sport for the development of sport and the support of the athletes and might remain financially at risk of insolvency.”
“Although some progress was noted in the Inquiry Committee Report, it concluded that the current situation of AIBA is such that its practices and activities continue to fall short of full conformity and compliance with the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics,” the IOC’s Executive Board wrote in its report. “However, concerned with the protection of boxing athletes and with the maintenance of Boxing as a sport at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 the IOC Session is willing to provide AIBA with an exceptional opportunity to restore its full compliance with (Olympic Charter Rule 25) and the IOC Code of Ethics.”
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IOC president Thomas Bach said, “(Wednesday’s) decision was taken in the interest of the athletes and the sport of boxing. We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA following the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee. At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change.”
AIBA has yet to comment on the Executive Board’s recommendation.
Sporting News reported in October 2018 that Olympic boxing was under threat.