The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is set to introduce a “protest system” for coaches and boxers in next year’s world championship for men, which will also be a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics. Its system of scoring criticised by no less than the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the AIBA Thursday said a provision of protest will be introduced at the 2019 world event to held in Moscow.
“Noteworthy, is the establishment of a protest system for Coaches and Athletes which has been approved, tested and is set to be implemented in 2019 at the AIBA Men’s World Championships,” the world body said in a statement.
AIBA said it has worked hard towards reforming its systems, most notably scoring, which has often been lambasted as opaque by critics. “Like any other International Sport Federation, AIBA will continuously seek to improve its refereeing and judging and will remain ever vigilant to the fact that we serve our athletes in the first place,” AIBA Executive Director Tom Virgets stated.
AIBA claimed that it has fully revamped its systems to “foster a culture of transparency and fair play, in and out of the boxing ring”. The new system was tested for the first time during the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and at the recent Women’s World Championships in Delhi.
The Delhi event saw a controversy when a Bulgarian boxer accused the judges of corruption, prompting the AIBA to withdraw her accreditation. Audit firm Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) has been monitoring the first implementation and has “positively reviewed” the new systems, indicating that the changes made were good and producing the desired results.
The changes include having five judges score a bout and removal of the President and Executive Director from the appointment and approval process of Referee and Judges.
“AIBA is committed to safe-guarding the integrity of boxing and its competitions on all levels. Collaborating with an independent audit team is just one of the ways we are working hard to ensure we keep our sport clean and our competitions honest,” Virgets said.
AIBA is currently faced with the prospect of Olympic expulsion following controversial Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov’s election as President. The IOC has threatened to drop boxing from the Olympic roster owing to Rakhimov’s alleged links to organised crime.