Tokyo 2020: Boxing can stay, but IOC EB recommends AIBA suspension

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The International Olympic Committee has recommended to retain boxing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. However, the competition will not take place under the aegis of the world governing body for the sport – AIBA. The IOC Executive Board has recommended to the IOC session from June 24 to 26 in Lausanne to suspend the international boxing association.

The decision was based on the recommendations of the report of the inquiry committee, which was led by IOC Executive Board Member Nenad Lalovic and also consisted of IOC member Richard L. Carrión and IOC member and IOC Athletes’ Commission representative Emma Terho.

The inquiry committee was set up by the IOC EB on November 30 last year due to the ongoing seriousness of the issues in the areas of finance, governance, ethics and refereeing and judging. Those areas of concern were already identified in 2017 and closely monitored. Since then there has been a lack of satisfactory progress.

After a thorough discussion, the IOC EB has recommended to the IOC Session that boxing maintains its place on the sports programme of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Olympic Boxing Tournament Tokyo 2020, including all qualifying competitions, shall be organized following guidelines established by the IOC Executive Board.

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If the above decisions are confirmed at the IOC Session next month, the IOC EB also confirmed the total athlete quota for the sport of boxing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would remain at 286 and the total number of eight men’s events and five women’s events would be maintained, as previously approved by the IOC EB on June 9, 2017. This is the next step towards gender equality in boxing having had 10 men’s events and three women’s events at both London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Additionally, the EB created a special task force, chaired by IOC Member and President of the International Gymnastic Federation (FIG) Morinari Watanabe, with the mandate to:

a. Ensure the delivery of the following boxing competitions, with a goal of increasing sustainable gender equality in all areas of the sport:

i. Qualification events for boxing in view of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, due to take place between January 2020 and May 2020;

ii. Boxing tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

b. Develop a Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for boxing, including the following details to be confirmed not later than the end of June 2019:

i. Definition of Men’s and Women’s weight categories;

ii. Review of quota places allocation across the boxing events, with a goal of increasing gender equality;

iii. Set the criteria for the quota places distribution at the qualification events.

The EB also noted that no Tokyo 2020 qualification system has been previously confirmed by the IOC for boxing and no events have been confirmed by the IOC as Olympic qualification events. The IOC will develop a new calendar for the Olympic qualifiers, which will take place between January and May 2020.

The status of AIBA’s full recognition will in principle be reviewed after Tokyo 2020. The evolution of AIBA’s situation and progress towards compliance with the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics are monitored through a special monitoring committee which consist of the members of the former Inquiry Committee.

“Today’s decision was taken in the interest of the athletes and the sport of boxing. We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA following the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee. At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change”, said IOC President Thomas Bach.

The 134th IOC Session that will be taking the decision on AIBA and the sport of boxing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to take place from June 24 to 26 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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