AIBA Resolves Benkons Loan -- Federations Focus

(ATR) Also: FIG signs parkour MoU; GAISF Council recognizes World Armwrestling Federation.

(ATR) An out-of-court settlement for the International Boxing Association instills newfound financial confidence in the federation.

New AIBA interim president Gafur Rakhimov helped resolve the $10 million loan with Benkons in Dubai during an Extraordinary Executive Committee meeting held by the federation in Rome. Rakhimov took over the interim presidency for Franco Falcinelli who stepped down during AIBA’s Extraordinary Congress in Dubai.

"The settlement that AIBA has reached with Benkons represents a significant step toward restoring the financial confidence and proper governance at AIBA because if the matter had been left open we could have faced bankruptcy," Rahimov and Falcinelli said in a joint statement.

The Benkons loan had been offered seven years ago but efforts to repay the bill had stalled under the previous administration of former president C.K. Wu. Under the new settlement, AIBA will begin repaying a portion of the loan in 2021 and the remainder will be converted into sponsorship opportunities for Benkons.

"This will effectively reduce and delay AIBA’s overall cash payments at a time when we are cash-strapped," said Rakhimov. "And it will put an end to the single biggest challenge that AIBA has been facing."

These issues led to Wu’s resignation on Nov. 20 and the International Olympic Committee to cut off Olympic solidarity funds from the federation. The federation will include the settlement of the Benkons loan in their Jan. 31 report to the IOC that outlines the corrections to their governance and financial issues.

Gymnastics Partners with International Parkour Federation

The International Parkour Federation signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to cooperate on parkour’s global development.

Leaders of the two federations met at FIG headquarters in Lausanne on Jan. 23 to establish a pathway to collaborate on growing the sport. FIG President Morinari Watanabe said the federation would "respect the autonomy of parkour while supporting its development".

The central tenant of the MoU dictates that both FIG and IP respect the "unique culture" of parkour and "commit to do their utmost to protect the culture, integrity and autonomy of the sport."

The two federations will now work extensively on creating a grass roots educational program as well as standardized and competitive event structure.

"As long as we can be certain that Parkour will remain autonomous," said IPF President Victor Bevine, "then it is obvious that the resources of the FIG offer tremendous benefits to Parkour athletes and communities around the world. After this meeting, we are confident that the working group understands and will support the unique culture of Parkour."

GAISF Recognizes Armwrestling

The Global Association of International Sports Federations could give the World Armwrestling Federation full membership at its next general assembly.

The GAISF Council met in Lausanne this week where it recommended the WAF membership. If approved by the general assembly, WAF would become the first GAISF member to successfully transition from an observer to full member.

Despite being founded in 1977, WAF gained GAISF observer status in October 2017.

"The Council’s decision to recommend WAF for Full Membership is an important milestone for GAISF as they would become the first IF to complete the journey from Observer to Member," said GAISF President Patrick Baumann.

"It is concrete evidence that the pathway established through the hard work of our Membership Commission, chaired by Mr. Antonio Espinos along with Vice Presidents Dr. Raffaele Chiulli (President of ARISF) and Mr. Stephan Fox (President of AIMS), can be followed by determined IFs and that it works well for both the Federation and GAISF’s entire membership."

The vote will be held at the GAISF General Assembly set for Bangkok, Thailand in April.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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