Golden 25: #8 -- Boxing Federation on the Ropes

(ATR) The IOC takes unprecedented first steps to strip recognition of an international federation.


(ATR) A simmering conflict between Olympic boxing federation AIBA and the IOC will come to a head in 2019 with the possible withdrawal of IOC recognition.

A three-member IOC inquiry panel was named in December to resolve outstanding questions about governance, finance and ethics. The election of Gafur Rakhimov as president two months ago was a direct snub at the IOC. Advice to the Federation from the IOC Ethics Commission counseled against his election.

Rakhimov, a veteran of Asian boxing through AIBA and the Olympic Council of Asia, is also on a list of suspected organized crime figures in Russia published by the U.S.Treasury Department. He’s contesting that designation, but for now it sticks.

The IOC says while the matter of who is president of the Federation is an issue, there are other concerns AIBA must address to avoid dramatic new levels of sanctions.

Rakhimov has urged the IOC to begin meeting with the federation, signaling that he and AIBA will welcome the scrutiny.

The IOC group will be led by Nenad Lalovic, a member of the Executive Board and president of United World Wrestling, the federation he transformed in 2013 when the IOC threatened to cut wrestling from the Olympic program. Joining him will be Richard Carrion, a senior IOC member from Puerto Rico and Emma Terho, Winter Olympian from Finland elected to the IOC last February.

The IOC group will be working with AIBA Executive Director Tom Virgets, the American named to run the Federation on a day-to-day basis during a difficult time. On the IOC side, sports director Kit McConnell will keep an eye on the proceedings which are due to be finished by June.

The panel report is scheduled to be presented to the IOC Session set for Lausanne the last week of June. The report could find all is well with the Federation and that defects and issues have been corrected.

If issues remain, particularly with the presidency, the IOC has the option of banning the Federation from any involvement with the boxing tournament at the 2020 Olympics. The IOC session could vote to dismiss recognition from AIBA on a permanent basis. That drastic action would be most complicated to carry out, involving the creation of a whole new federation to manage Olympic boxing. The ultimate punishment would be eliminating the sport altogether from the program.

The Around the Rings Golden 25 is the annual survey of individuals who will have the most influence for the Olympic Movement in the year ahead. First published in 1997, this is the 22nd edition.

Reported by Ed Hula.

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