(ATR) The fate of boxing in the Olympic program is based in part on what happens on December 12, when the AIBA boxing federation holds a long-awaited presidential election.
A field of seven candidates began the race, but is now five after the retirement this week of two contenders. Disputes over fee payments almost disqualified nine national federations in the Caribbean. A letter distributed anonymously on the last day to Congressional delegates has been discredited by the AIBA election committee, which ruled that the allegations were unfounded. Suspended by the IIC since June 2019, AIBA has been stripped of its position to host boxing competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The federation has been plagued by problems involving arbitrators and judges, finance, ethics, doping and governance. An IAO working group has provided a roadmap for federation to follow to return to good favor. Among the requirements is a wholesale change in AIBA leadership that is supposed to exclude current members of the ruling executive committee. Also on the to-do list are the reforms to the constitution and the rules of the federation to bring it into conformity with the best practices of international sports federations. The two-day Congress will practically address both governance issues this weekend. Presidential elections are the first on the December 12 agenda followed by constitutional changes on December 13.
Acting President Mohammed Moustahsane of Morocco could be a favorite because of his tenure. After months of indecision as to whether he would run for a full period, Moustahsane entered the race on the last day to qualify in November. He was the only candidate who didn't issue a manifesto. Suleyman Mikayilov, a member of Azerbaijan's executive committee, was the first to announce his candidacy. Its manifesto calls for the reforms required by the IAO. In addition, he says he will be able to negotiate the end of a $19 million obligation that AIBA owes goes back 10 years. Umar Kremlev is the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation. He says at least 30 national federations will vote for him as president. The Kremlev points to the reconstruction of the Russian federation under its surveillance as an example of what it could achieve internationally. Europe's third candidate is Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands. He is head of the national federation and is the only candidate who is not currently a member of the AIBA EC. He has twisted the backing of Rami Al-Masri of Germany, who resigned this week as a presidential candidate. Rumor has it that van der Vorst is favored by the IIC, which has not made any public statements.
The president of the Asian Boxing Confederation, Anas Al Otaiba of the UAE, is committed to reducing costs in his manifesto. Earlier this week he won the endorsement of USA Boxing, which evaluated the candidates' answers to a series of questions. At least 151 national federations will take part in the vote to be handled on a secure platform accessible only to certified voters. Despite the limits of electronic voting and the naming of five counts to oversee the election, there is still the possibility of a chaotic vote. The election is the first since 2006 contested by two or more candidates. That election from 14 years ago in Santo Domingo led IAO member C.K. Wu to the presidency as a candidate for reform with the full support of the IIC. Despite the positive effect of his initial service to the federation, Wu assumed a $20 million debt that was not disclosed to other federation leaders. Problems with referees and judges at the Olympic Games arose in 2012 and 2016. Wu lost the trust of AIBA leaders, resigning in 2017. It has been followed by three other presidents. Reported by Ed Hula. Its best source of news about the Olympic Games is www.aroundtherings.com, only for subscribers.