AFTER controversial figure Gafur Rakhimov revealed he would step aside as president of beleaguered amateur boxing governing body AIBA, Morocco’s Mohamed Moustasane will become the organisation’s interim president.
AIBA’s Executive Committee has elected by a vote of 23-0 with two abstentions.
It is a fevered time for the sport. The International Olympic Committee (the IOC) is considering expelling boxing from Tokyo 2020 for its governance problems amongst other issues. Rakhimov’s position as president was at the heart of that, given that the Uzbek, although he vehemently maintains his innocence, is sanctioned by the United States Treasury department. It remains to be seen whether his being replaced at the top of the organisation, certainly for the time being at least, will be enough to smooth boxing’s path to remaining as an Olympic sport.
The IOC’s ad hoc inquiry into AIBA have issued them further questions, which AIBA said they would answer “in due course”. AIBA have been arguing for a hearing but claim that they are “confident that this committee as well as the IOC Executive Board have enough information from AIBA to close the inquiry and move forward”.
AIBA remains in debt but say they have reduced that debt by $3 million. The body remains over indebted and depends on boxing’s inclusion in the Olympics to solve their financial problems.
The IOC’s inquiry into boxing is expected to deliver its verdict on the sport’s Olympic future on May 22.
In an extraordinary development, as revealed by Inside the Games, Russia’s Umar Kremlev a member of the executive committee has offered to wipe out AIBA’s $16 million debt himself, apparently using his own money and “investments”.
These are irregular developments for a international sporting federation and it remains to be seen whether it will satisfy the IOC that AIBA is fit for purpose. It is vital for the sport itself to remain in the Olympics but the anxious wait to find out its fate will continue.