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  • ATR First: Boxing Federation Plots Strategy After IOC Blow


    06/11/19

    (ATR) AIBA’s leaders will hold an extraordinary executive committee on June 27 to discuss how to deal with being stripped of Olympic boxing hosting rights.

    AIBA interim president Mohamed Moustahsane of Morocco (Getty Images)
    Federation chiefs have been keeping their counsel after the IOC’s ruling body last month delivered its damning verdict, suspending AIBA based on a 30-page report from an inquiry commission that evaluated the IF’s governance, ethics, financial affairs and refereeing. It concluded that “serious governance issues remain”.

    Around the Rings has learned that interim AIBA president Mohamed Moustahsane has called the emergency meeting in a bid to plot a strategy forward for the beleaguered federation.

    Further reforms are needed to get back in the IOC’s good graces, but with no advocates for boxing on the Olympic ruling body, AIBA faces an uphill battle.

    The June 27 meeting comes two days after the IOC Session in Lausanne is expected to ratify the IOC inquiry commission’s decision, backed by Thomas Bach’s executive board, to ban AIBA from involvement in the Tokyo 2020 boxing competition.

    Ahead of last month’s bombshell decision for AIBA, rumors had circulated that the boxing federation was threatening to sue the IOC if it ruled against the federation organizing 2020 Olympic boxing bouts.

    A source close to AIBA tells Around the Rings this isn’t a solution to the federation’s malaise.

    “The majority of the EC (executive committee) members are oriented to avoid the appeal to the CAS and asking for an extraordinary congress in order to renew the leadership group and recover the credibility of the IOC before the Olympic Games,” he said.

    His comments suggest AIBA’s top table may be poised for a reshuffle to better deal with the fallout from the IOC decision. A few heads may roll, it seems. Whether this will include a move to oust Moustahsane or remove AIBA executive director Tom Virgets remains to be seen.

    But the IOC may want to see another leadership overhaul to be confident in AIBA’s intent to continue its reforms and address the governance issues the inquiry identified.

    Its report to the IOC EB last month stated: “Serious governance issues remain, including breaches of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics regarding good governance and ethics, leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders.”

    Russian Boxing Federation chief Umar Kremlev (Getty Images)
    Russia’s involvement in AIBA’s governance has been a sore point with the IOC for some time.

    In a bid to keep AIBA on board for Tokyo 2020, Russian Boxing Federation chief Umar Kremlev offered to wipe out AIBA’s $16 million debt. His offer fell on deaf ears, with the IOC still concerned about the federation’s decision to award the men’s and women’s boxing world championships to Russia, Ekaterinburg, in September and Ulan Ude in October.

    ATR understands that Kremlev has reiterated his willingness to federation leaders to cover AIBA's debts without any compensation.

    His offer and Russia’s hosting of the two world championships will be two crunch discussion points at the extraordinary ExCo in two week’s time, according to ATR’s boxing source.

    Kremlev’s donation may also be linked to trying to stop AIBA axing its agreement with Russia to host the worlds. The issues are complicated because the events are no longer Olympic qualifiers.

    While AIBA scrambles to debate the next steps in its reforms agenda, the IOC-appointed working group led by Morinari Watanabe is pushing on with its plans to take over management of the Tokyo boxing tournament, from qualification of the competitors to the administration of the bouts next year.

    Further updates will come at the IOC Session in Lausanne later this month.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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