AIBA, the world governing body for Olympic boxing, has addressed claims of financial mismanagement.
In a report the Guardian alleges AIBA “risks bankruptcy” as an Azeri company seeks repayment of a $10 million loan and a dispute emerges over investments made by Hong Kong firm FCIT in AIBA’s beleaguered Boxing Marketing Arm, known as the BMA.
In a statement AIBA has insisted that they have agreed a repayment plan with Benkons MMC, the Azeri investor, saying, “Benkons MMC had never claimed any payment from AIBA nor called upon the guarantee contained in the Investment Agreement until its letter dated July 19, 2017. Benkons and AIBA in fact had reached an agreement in which AIBA assumes the obligation to reimburse the loan and Benkons MMC agrees to a repayment schedule. Benkons’ lawyers reviewed this Settlement Agreement and expressly approved its content on all the essential features.”
AIBA also stated that “the BMA financial crisis results from several factors and all strategic decisions were approved by all BMA Board members including Mr. Wu Di [the FCIT chairman]. The FCIT loan against BMA is subordinated to all un-subordinated debt of BMA and asserts that, in case of bankruptcy, the loan is waived to the extent the liquidation proceeds are not sufficient to repay it. We are confident of the validity of the document as discussed with our lawyers and auditors.”
AIBA has a slate of issues to address. Olympic boxing was rocked by a succession of controversial decisions at Rio 2016 which ultimately led to all the referees and judges from the Rio Games being suspended and some changes being made to the current judging system.
A new look for the boxing tournament is also on the horizon for the next Olympic Games. A further shake up in the sport is coming when, in an unexpected move, this year the International Olympic Committee instructed AIBA to drop two men’s weight classes from Tokyo 2020 to create two new women’s divisions for the next Olympic Games.