LAUSANNE (AFP) – Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday voted unanimously to suspend recognition of amateur boxing’s troubled governing body the AIBA as an Olympic governing body ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The IOC stripped the AIBA of the right to run the event at next year’s Games in May after an investigation into alleged serious mismanagement at boxing’s crisis-ridden ruling authority. The IOC members rubber-stamped that decision at a meeting in Lausanne.
The IOC will now organise boxing in AIBA’s place, the federation becoming the first to have been stripped of its right to organise its own sport at an Olympics.
Qualification, split between four continents – Africa (Dakar), Europe (London), Asia/Oceania (China) and Americas (Buenos Aires) – will be held between January and the end of March, with a final global qualifier to be held in May in Tokyo.
The IOC has appointed Morinari Watanabe, Japan’s gymnastics chief, to run a taskforce to organise qualification and the tournament itself in Tokyo.
Formed in 1946, AIBA has overseen decades of signature Olympic moments, notably the 1960 gold medal win in Rome by Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay.
But its reputation has been tarnished in recent years as it careened from crisis to crisis.
Relations between AIBA and the IOC took a sharp downward turn following the 2016 Rio Games, when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout fixing.
An internal investigation by AIBA raised deeper questions about the judging in Rio, with particular suspicion falling on a French official.
Then in 2017, AIBA executives forced out the body’s president, C.K. Wu, amid claims of multi-million dollar accounting fraud.
Wu, a Taiwanese national, denied wrongdoing and remains a member of the IOC, an indication that he retains the support of senior Olympic officials.
Wu was ultimately replaced by the controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov, who the US Treasury Department has linked to “transnational criminal organisations”.
Rakhimov, who stepped aside in March, vehemently rejects such charges and insists the allegations against him are “politically motivated lies”.