Boxing could be excluded from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if the sport’s worldwide governing body does not resolve problems ranging from governance to anti-doping issues, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Sunday.
Following a meeting of its executive board, Bach said the IOC had upheld its decision in December to suspend any financial aid to the Association of International Boxing Associations because of the ongoing problems, also including finance and refereeing.
While Bach said boxing’s place and athlete quota at Tokyo are final, he made it equally clear the IOC has every right to review the 2020 program if the sport does not sort itself out fast.
“The IOC executive board is not satisfied with the report prepared by AIBA on its governance, finance, refereeing and anti-doping issues,” Bach said in his first press conference ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics, which opens on Friday.
“We are extremely worried about the governance of AIBA . . . The IOC reserves the right to review the right of boxing on the program of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Bach said he expects a report by April 30 from AIBA, which will now be under investigation by the IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer.
AIBA has been riddled by in-fighting among executives, allegations of match-fixing at the previous Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and a lack of transparency over funding.
The crisis-hit organization’s interim president has been named as a leading criminal by the US Treasury Department.
AIBA responded by claiming: “This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time.”
IOC president Thomas Bach added: “We are still looking into this issue… we want them to give a satisfying explanation.
“We are extremely worried about the governance of AIBA.”AIBA’s interim president Gafur Rakhimov has been described as “one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals” by the US Treasury Department, which claims he has links to the heroin trade. Rakhimov, 66, came to power last month following the abrupt resignation of Italy’s Franco Falcinelli.
At the time, he said: “Our message to the IOC and to the world of boxing is that AIBA is turning over a new leaf and we intend to demonstrate our responsibility to all national federations and our commitment to the sport we all love.”
Boxing has been contested at every edition of the Games apart from Stockholm in 1912 – because it was banned in Sweden at the time.