(ATR) Olympic boxing federation president Gafur Rakhimov says he will resign in the interests of the sport of boxing.
Gafur Rakhimov (AIBA)
“Given the current situation, I have informed the AIBA Executive Committee of my intent to step aside as AIBA President in accordance with the AIBA Statutes and Bylaws, which allow the President to renounce his powers and to be replaced by an Interim President,” Rakhimov said in a statement.
“I have called an AIBA Executive Committee teleconference meeting over the weekend to address this matter and initiate the process of appointing an Interim President," he says.
Rakhimov was elected with overwhelming support at the AIBA Congress in November despite repeated warnings from the IOC against his election.
The Uzbek native has attracted IOC concern because his name is on a U.S. Treasury list over alleged ties to Russian organized crime. Rakhimov, a longtime leader for Olympic boxing in Asia, is fighting the designation which he blames on Uzbekistan politics.
The IOC has convened an Ad-Hoc committee which is studying a range of issues involving governance, finance, judging and doping. The report from the committee, chaired by IOC member and United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic, will form the basis of a decision whether to exclude the federation from the Tokyo Olympics.
The IOC has indicated that the sport of boxing is not at risk, only the status of the federation.
AIBA has been under IOC watch since December 2017 after a series of leadership challenges tied to financial crisis, as well as a judging controversy at the Rio Olympics. The IOC has cut off funding for AIBA and has suspended communication with the federation.
The committee’s findings will be presented to the IOC Executive Board next week. Final decisions on boxing’s Olympic status will likely be made at the 2019 IOC Session this June in Lausanne.
Rakhimov says that AIBA has made progress in governance, anti-doping, finances, as well as overhauling its refereeing and judging.
“I truly believe that the work done this last year has revitalized and energized AIBA and boxing,” Rakhimov wrote of the changes.
“Once again, as I have stated before on numerous occasions, I attest and confirm that the allegations against me were fabricated and based on politically motivated lies; I trust that the truth will prevail,” Rakhimov says.
“Nevertheless, I have always said that I would never put myself above Boxing, and as President, I have a duty to do everything in my power to serve our sport and our athletes.”
As per the AIBA constitution an Interim President will be appointed by the Executive Committee to run the federation. It is unclear when new elections would be held to determine a permanent successor. Rakhimov was electeed for a term ending in 2022.
One likely prospect to serve as interim president is Osvaldo Bisbal, an AIBA vice president by virtue of his leadership of the boxing confederation for the Americas. The Argentinian is the most senior member of the AIBA EC.
AIBA says it will not have any further comment on the situation before March 25.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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