(ATR) The Executive Committee of the International Boxing Association votes unanimously to confirm the suspension of President C.K. Wu.
The vote of the EC, meeting in Dubai, was unanimous. Of the 18 members of the EC, 14 travelled to Dubai. Wu was not allowed to attend due to his suspension.
The action came after a day of deliberations that included evidence of an elaborate scheme to anoint heavyweight boxing legend Wladimir Klitschko as the next AIBA president.
Wu was provisionally suspended in October by the federation Disciplinary Commission. AIBA president since 2006, Wu has come under fire over the finances and management of the federation which oversees boxing in the Olympic Games.
Wu has blamed previous executive directors and the ambitions of members of the EC for the upheaval in the federation. He insists that AIBA is on firm financial footing.
Talks between the AIBA EC and Wu to reach a face-saving settlement to avoid a suspension apparently were not successful, Around the Rings has been told.
Next step for AIBA is the convening of an Extraordinary Congress of the national federations in January. Wu would be subject to a vote of no confidence that would remove him from office if it succeeds. He is in the final year of his third term as AIBA president.
Wu, an IOC member in Chinese Taipei since 1988, is said to be under pressure from IOC President Thomas Bach to resolve the crisis in a graceful manner, even if it means resigning the AIBA presidency. Without a face-saving move and revelations of mismanagement by Wu, he could face suspension or even loss of his IOC membership.
ATR has been told that Wu was issued a severe warning by the IOC Ethics Commission in October. He was told not to make any public statements that the IOC was backing his side in the AIBA leadership dispute.
The meeting is the first for the EC since it met in Moscow at the end of July. That’s where tensions about finances boiled over, with EC members demanding answers about concerns AIBA was on the verge of insolvency. With Wu refusing to budge, the EC adopted a resolution asserting its control over the federation. A Swiss court ruling was used by Wu to maintain his status. But after Wu cancelled a September EC meeting, the AIBA Disciplinary Commission was summoned to act and provisionally suspended Wu. AIBA vice president Franco Falcinelli now holds the title of interim president.
The AIBA EC is meeting for two days in Dubai to deal with the various consequences of the suspension of Wu.
Uppermost is determining the actual financial condition of the federation. An Aug. 5 letter from auditor KPMG to Wu warned that insolvency was near due to a $10 million loan to the federation from an Azerbaijan company. The money was to finance the operations of the World Series of Boxing Americas franchise, now a nearly defunct professional boxing enterprise created by Wu.
KPMG has yet to make a formal report on the AIBA books beyond its August warning letter. The situation is supposedly only worsened since then.
Klitschko Takeover Plans
Maybe the most eyebrow-raising discussion of the day in Dubai for the EC came regarding a plot by Wu to make Wladimir Klitschko the next president of AIBA. Documents detailing the plot were discovered by Falcinelli and colleagues as they took over control and operation of the AIBA headquarters in Lausanne during the past month.
A draft letter of intent and series of emails between AIBA and Klitschko describe in detail the terms of succession and what AIBA and Klitschko will do to make it happen. Wu’s suspension in October thwarted the first stage of the plot, naming Klitschko a vice president. A press release was prepared to announce the appointment Oct. 10.
"Mr Klitschko will assume a new role overseeing ongoing and future relationships with major pro organizations and its commercial benefits for the National Federations and its boxers," says the unpublished press release.
Wu was suspended the day before it was intended to be released.
The letter of intent – which is believed to have remained unsigned – then goes on to detail subsequent steps that would take place once Klitschko becomes an appointed vice president, a role with less power than an elected post.
To change that, the letter of intent says Klitschko should then take steps to take over the presidency of the Ukraine Boxing Federation.
"AIBA proposes that Mr Klitschko runs for President of the Ukraine Amateur Boxing Association and then (at the AIBA Convention in November 2017) for a seat on the Executive Committee of AIBA," says the draft seen by Around the Rings.
The letter speaks of unspecified reforms that Klitschko wants to carry out at AIBA. Klitschko wants assurances that regardless of what happens with his bid to become a member of the AIBA Executive Committee, he still will have the opportunity to present his ideas to be implemented by AIBA.
"Should membership of the Executive Committee not provide the necessary powers, AIBA will advise what other position of responsibility at AIBA Mr Klitschko could assume for that purpose," says the document.
"Regardless of the above AIBA shall at the same time clarify whether and under what concrete circumstances and conditions it would be possible and likely for Mr Klitschko to take over the presidency of the AIBA should the President one day decide he wishes to end his presidency," the letter says.
It is not possible to discern the reforms Klitscko wants to bring to AIBA based on the letter or email exchanges between the AIBA Executive Director William Louis-Marie and Tanja Kiel, Klitschko’s assistant. But business transactions appear to be involved with references to the agreement as a "partnership" and Klitschko pressing to retain the intellectual property rights for ideas he may propose to AIBA.
A request for comment from Klitschko has not been returned.
Klitschko, 41, came to fame winning a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta followed by a career as a heavyweight champion that ended this year. Retired as a fighter, he is now promoting boxing through his firm Klitschko Ventures, which is mentioned in the letter of intent as one of the parties to the potential AIBA partnership.
The ardor of Wu to court Klitschko was so fevered that AIBA chartered a jet so that he could attend the AIBA Gala in Montreux last December. A Cessna Citation flew Klitschko from his home in Hamburg to Switzerland and then back in the same day.
The bill paid by AIBA: 11,000 Swiss francs.
Reported by Ed Hula.