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  • IOC Delivers New Blows Against Boxing


    (ATR) The IOC is still concerned about the state of the International Boxing Association, and will launch an inquiry into the federation before making a final decision on the sport’s place at Tokyo 2020.

    McConnell briefs the press on the situation with AIBA (ATR)
    A decision by the IOC Executive Board in Tokyo sets the stage for a dramatic clash over the fate of the Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament.

    “The Executive Board of the IOC today decided to initiate an inquiry into AIBA,” a statement from the executive board read. “This is the initiation of a procedure which can lead to the withdrawal of recognition for AIBA.”

    The inquiry committee will be chaired by United World Wrestling President Nenad Lalovic, along with IOC Member Richard Carion and IOC member and athlete representative Emma Terho. Lalovic is the IOC EB representative of the international summer federations.

    In the meantime, the IOC has continued to freeze all contacts with AIBA and suspend all financial payments to the federation. The IOC first took these steps following its Executive Board meeting in December 2017.

    IOC Sporting Director Kit McConnell told reporters that the Executive Board is not “predetermining any outcome of the inquiry committee” with regards to the future of Olympic boxing. The goal remains for the IOC’s goal remains to do “everything we can to find a solution to have a boxing tournament” in Tokyo.

    Timelines leading to a final decision must involve consultation from the inquiry committee to the IOC Executive Board and then the Executive Board to the IOC Session.

    Any final decision on whether  to strip recognition of AIBA and hold an Olympic boxing tournament must be taken by the IOC Session according to the Olympic Charter.

    “This timeline is so important and is built for the Executive Board to review the inquiry commission, and then, if necessary, take any recommendations to the Session,” McConnell said.

    The next scheduled IOC Executive Board meeting is in March of 2019, and the next IOC Session is scheduled for June 2019 in Lausanne. Should a decision be taken there, it would be done just over a year from Tokyo 2020.

    Boxing is scheduled to run July 24 to August 9 at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

    The IOC Executive Board took the decision to “freeze the planning for the Olympic boxing tournament” as part of its inquiry into AIBA. However, to ensure that an Olympic boxing tournament could happen, technical discussions will continue between the IOC and Tokyo 2020.

    Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo (Wikimedia Commons)
    “We just observed the IOC’s official position today, which is to freeze the preparations for the Olympic boxing tournament in Tokyo 2020,” Masa Takaya, Tokyo 2020 spokesperson, said to Around the Rings.

    “Concerning the impact to Tokyo 2020, we obviously would like to keep working closely with the IOC to address any impact we may have, but in the meantime regardless of these developments the IOC mentions that it is making its best effort to make sure the Olympic boxing tournament takes place.

    “In this respect, we are keen to keep working with the IOC and other key stakeholders in Japan.”

    In addition, AIBA is prohibited from using the Olympic rings and Tokyo 2020 logos in promotional materials. Also frozen are ticket sales for the 2020 Olympics, forming an Olympic qualification schedule and competition schedule, and planning for its test event.

    Multiple Areas of Concern Remain

    The IOC says that it still has concerns about progress AIBA has made in stabilizing its finances and governance and ethics in the federation.

    An audited report of AIBA’s finances from EY  said that “uncertainty still persists about the ability of the organizations to continue as a going concern”. The audit itself was not even able to get enough information to information about the federation’s finances to provide an opinion about the state of its finances.

    No audits from the years 2017 and 2018 appear on the AIBA website.

    Earlier in the day AIBA had sent out a statement saying it had “managed to restore a healthy and sustainable financial situation”.

    McConnell said that the IOC Executive Board does not “go off the statement of a press release; we go off the information provided to us in official reports”. Another area of concern for the IOC is the fact that AIBA is not able to maintain or open a bank account in Switzerland, where its headquarters are located.

    In order for IOC payments and direct Olympic Solidarity payments to return to AIBA, the IOC must have “reviewed and confirmed being satisfied with further proof of AIBA’s ability to continue,” and undergoing a full independent audit after implementing financial reform.

    Boxing at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (ATR)
    The IOC still is concerned about Rakhimov’s “designation as a key member and associate of a transnational organized criminal network” from the U.S. treasury. In interviews Rahimov has said his inclusion on this list is politically motivated, and has vowed to fight the designation.

    Two areas of positive news from the Executive Board were the lack of concern from auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games tournament, and the AIBA anti-doping program being fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    Still, McConnell called the need for auditors to be hired to oversee the tournament at the YOG “truly an exceptional circumstance,” and there was still a ways to go before confidence in the federation had been restored.

    “At the end of the day our goal is still to run an Olympic boxing tournament in Tokyo and protect athletes in that regard,” McConnell said.

    “All efforts will be made to protect the athletes and make sure a boxing tournament can take place in Tokyo 2020 regardless of these moves.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer in Tokyo

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