International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board have decided to initiate an inquiry into boxing governing body International Boxing Association (AIBA). The Olympic organisers further added that this could lead to boxing’s withdrawal from the Olympic programme. The decision was taken at the Executive Board meeting in Tokyo on Friday (November 30).
In keeping with the decision of further investigation, IOC has frozen the planning of the Olympic boxing tournament at 2020 Olympics in Tokyo including official contact between AIBA and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee. The qualifying system for boxing event at the 2020 Olympic Games is also put on hold, along with ticket sales, test event planning and finalisation of the competition schedule for the sport.
IOC maintained, that technical planning was ongoing behind the scenes “as the goal was still to have an Olympic boxing tournament” at the Games in the Japanese capital.
McConnell said the investigations would be conducted over the coming months before the final findings are presented to the Executive Board prior the Session taking place in Lausanne in June.
AIBA had submitted a progress report to the IOC, as stipulated by the board, detailing its current situation regarding governance, financial management and sporting integrity. While acknowledging steps made in order to address the concerns, IOC’s executive board remained concerned over the governance, ethics and financial management.
Boxing had earlier incurred the wrath of the when at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, all 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout fixing.
In the run up to the meeting in Tokyo, AIBA had said it had cleaned its act. It said a new judging system brought in place after the Rio scandal had been “positively received by athletes and technical officials.” The association also said that it had restored its finances to a healthy level and implemented “stringent” new controls to turn the page on previous mismanagement. The fear of going bankrupt due to past financial mismanagement is now far behind us,” said AIBA chief Gafur Rakhimov in a statement on Thursday. “It is time to turn the page and look further to the development of boxing worldwide,” added the 67-year-old.
Things got worse for the sport and its relation with the IOC when Rakhimov, who has been linked to organised crime by the US Treasury Department, was elected as the president. Rakhimov, however, has denied these allegations.
Bach had said earlier in the year that a report in April “lacks execution and substance in some areas.” He also stressed that he will not allow competitors to suffer from the “bad behaviour of some officials,” suggesting the IOC is not ready to completely throw the sport out of the ring completely. “Irrespective of the decision taken… we will make the necessary efforts to ensure that athletes have the possibility to pursue their Olympic journey,” Bach had said.
Boxing has been an ancient sport at the Summer Olympics and was introduced by the Greeks in the seventh century B.C., according to the IOC website. It made its debut at the modern games in St. Louis in 1904 and has been part of every Olympics since, apart from 1912 Games in Stockholm because Swedish law, at the time, banned the sport. “We have no doubt that boxing will be at the Olympics” in 2020, said Alberto Puig, president of the boxing federation in Cuba, which has a proud Olympic boxing tradition.