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  • Bach: It is Time for Boxing to Act


    (ATR) The International Boxing Association (AIBA) must make up for lacking execution and substance in its latest report to the IOC Executive Board or risk being excluded from Tokyo 2020.

    Thomas Bach addresses journalists following the EB Meeting (IOC Periscope)
    The executive board concluded a day and a half of meetings in Lausanne discussing a variety of topics including boxing’s current governance issues. IOC President Bach said the federation “shows some progress and shows goodwill” in requested reforms, but a lack of action.

    Bach said that boxing will be required to show a new system in which judges are selected for bouts, which must be evaluated by independent auditors. The federation must also deliver on its report to improve “governance, financial, and sporting integrity”. Until those actions are completed the IOC retains its right to remove the sport form the Tokyo 2020 program, Bach said.

    “We hope by July, by the next executive board, we will have further actions by AIBA and further information by AIBA,” Bach added.

    Boxing will remain on the program for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, as the athletes competing “cannot be blamed for all the issues,” in the federation. The October competition could serve as a test-case for boxing to implement auditing of its referee selection, Bach suggested.

    The problems plaguing the federation go beyond the appointment of Gafur Rahimov as interim president. Rahimov has been flagged by the U.S. Treasury Department for links to organized crime in Uzbekistan, and is seeking to be removed from the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s “Specially Designated Nationals List”. Bach said the reforms needed are “not only a personal matter”.

    “I think we have to acknowledge that you cannot reform…and implement the reforms in [only] a couple of months,” Bach said. “So again, a lot has been done and there is progress, when it comes to planning. What we want now to see is action.”

    AIBA in a statement said it has “taken note” of the decisions of the executive board, but awaits a written description of any decisions taken.

    “In line with our commitment to transparency, we look forward to sharing the submitted report with all of our members as soon as possible,” Tom Virgets, AIBA executive director said. “This is a new AIBA and we are fully committed to putting into action the values of Boxing and the Olympic Movement.”

    IOC Appealing CAS Decisions

    The IOC Executive Board said it will appeal decisions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport over Russian athletes sanctioned by the Oswald Commission to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

    Ahead of PyeongChang CAS ruled in favor of Russian athletes who appealed life bans handed out by the Oswald Commission, reviving their eligibility for the 2018 Games. The IOC declined to invite any of the athletes whose appeals were upheld by CAS, and said it would consider appealing the decisions.

    “We are unsatisfied with the decisions and motivation and will be appealing,” Mark Adams, IOC spokesperson said about why the IOC was appealing. “We are not happy."

    A number of Russian journalists questioned Bach about the implications of the CAS decision for Russian athletes. The journalists suggested the decision exonerated the athletes and the Russian state-sponsored doping scheme and even asked if the IOC was considering compensating athletes that were not ultimately invited to PyeongChang. Bach immediately dismissed any idea of compensation before explaining the rulings.

    “I only would like to give you one small quote there of this decision which says ‘this decision is not necessarily indicative of innocence,’” Bach said. “As you can see from the CAS decision in PyeongChang, [the IOC] is free to invite whomever we want to the Olympic Games and there we were following this rule.”

    Bach said that IOC legal experts are still examining the reasoned decisions released by CAS, despite the decision to appeal. He said that he and the executive board had to appeal the ruling, regardless of the odds of successfully reversing the opinion.

    “We put ourselves into the shoes of athletes who finished behind these Russian athletes, and have a decision which clearly says it does not mean [the Russian athletes] are innocent, and [the athletes] have all the right to ask us the question ‘why did you not appeal,’” Bach said. “When we came this decision I was asking myself what could you answer to such an athlete, and I didn’t find a good answer.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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