(ATR) On the eve of the election that could determine the fate of boxing on the program of the 2020 Olympics, international federation AIBA rejects a statute change meant to help interim president Gafur Rakhimov.
Rakhimov, right, presides over the AIBA Congress. (AIBA)
Meeting in Moscow, delegates to the AIBA Congress voted against a change that allows the elected president to step down for a period of up to one year, with an interim president taking charge.
Speaking to the Congress Friday, interim president Gafur Rakhimov encouraged the delegates to back the change. He told the congress that he would take advantage of the statute change to step down from office temporarily if the IOC objects to his election for a full term Saturday.
There is a good chance the IOC will object. The IOC Ethics and Compliance officer has told AIBA that Rakhimov’s placement on a US Treasury Department list of suspected organized crime figures makes him unsuitable to be a candidate. Rakhimov denies any ties to organized crime and is seeking to have his name removed from the list.
Serik Konakbayev (Asian Boxing Confederation)
He is being challenged for the presidency by Asian Boxing Confederation leader Sirek Konakbayev. The Kazakhstan native is a silver medalist in boxing from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
In his report to the Congress, Rakhimov acknowledged IOC complaints about AIBA. But he said that the federation is making inroads with the IOC concerns.
"We are addressing any issues that the IOC would have as a result of the election for leadership positions, including President, through new amendments to our statutes. Then we will get everything in place for Olympic boxing in Tokyo, in Paris, in LA and any other future Olympic host,” said Rakhimov, admitting that he would step down if the IOC objected to his election.
The IOC is waiting for a final report from AIBA on November 13 before considers whether to take additional action against the federation. Already in place since last December, sanctions so far against AIBA include a cut off of IOC payments and restrictions on communications between the federation and the IOC. The IOC has threatened to take boxing out of the Tokyo Olympics if AIBA fails to address the points it has raised.
While AIBA might be comfortable with another interim president, the IOC may not be as sanguine, especially if Rakhimov is due to return at some point .
The failure to change the statutes still would allow Rakhmov to step down for a limited time. But he would not be able to retain a vote on the ruling executive committee, which would have been allowed if the change has been adopted.
C.K. Wu (ATR)
In his speech to the Congress, Rakhimov described a federation that he says is much different than it was a year ago. At that time C.K. Wu was president, but under fire from his colleagues in the AIBA leadership.
The IOC member in Chinese Taipei is blamed for a financial crisis that put AIBA on the verge of bankruptcy. Wu was accused of making secret deals with the IOC to reduce the number of weight classes in the Olympics.
Elected in 2006, the last time AIBA held a contested presidential election, Wu was backed by the IOC. The IOC viewed Wu as a reform candidate at a time when judging controversies threatened the demise of Olympic boxing.
"AIBA is no longer operated by one single individual," Rakhimov said.
"We have control mechanisms in place to balance power so that boxing will never experience the bad behavior of the past. Previously loans and credits were taken from various companies without proper due diligence," he charged.
"As a Federation, we were against the ropes,” Rakhimov said.
He said he’s been “working day and night” to renegotiate $40 million in debt.
"This not has been an easy task,” he said.
Besides restructuring debt, Rakhimov said other obligations have bene turned into sponsorship deals.
Rakhimov received a standing ovation for his speech
Reported by Ed Hula.
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