The Executive Board of the IOC once again expressed its extreme concern with the governance issues of the International Boxing Association (AIBA). At its EB Meeting in Buenos Aires, the IOC made a strong statement about the situation by warning AIBA that if it does not takes further steps towards a more transparent system, that boxing could be taken out of the Olympic program in 2020.
Governance Issues at AIBA started last year when its Executive Committee decided to ban then-President C K Wu from the association accusing him of negligence and financial mismanagement, charges that were Wu. In November 2017, he was forced to resign from the presidency, with the Executive Committee getting support from the Olympic movement.
Almost one year on, the lack of governance continues in AIBA, with interim President Gafur Rakhimov from Uzbekistan the only candidate running for the presidency of the Association. Rakhimov was described by the US Treasury Department as “one of Uzbekistan´s leading criminals.”
The problem is that the other candidate for the position, Kazakhstan’s Serik Konakbayev, did not manage to get the complete number of supporters he needed and has had his candidature by the electoral commission.
Worries The IOC is clearly not happy with the situation. At the beginning of the year, IOC President Thomas Bach said he was extremely worried about AIBA´s governance and finance procedures, while in July the IOC confirmed it would not be providing financial support to AIBA. In August, Pâquerette Girard Zapeelli, the IOC’s Head of Ethics and Compliance, send a letter to Rakhimov, asking him to not run for the presidency.
The situation will not have an end before November 3 when AIBA will go to elections, where for the moment the president is the interim Rakhimov is still the only valid candidate.
Under threat The IOC reiterated its position regarding the governance issues – if they continue, the existence of boxing in the Olympic programme and even the recognition of AIBA as an International Federation by the IOC could be in question.
The message from IOC to boxers, however, is just as clear, the sport will continue to have competitions even if AIBA is not recognized, “[The IOC] will do its utmost to ensure that the athletes do not have to suffer under these circumstances and that we will protect their Olympic dream,” Bach said during the EB Meeting in Buenos Aires.
It remains to be seen if the IOC president’s words could be a final wake up call for the boxing association ahead of November 3.