AIBA, the international federation for Olympic boxing, held meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland for the Referees and Judges Commission and the Technical and Rules Commission from October 3-5 to discuss the fallout from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. All the Olympic judges will be stood down from officiating while AIBA conducts an investigation into what went on in Rio.
There was an outcry over several controversial decisions at the 2016 Games, notably the heavyweight final that saw Evgeny Tishenko get a decision over Vassily Levit and Michael Conlan’s shock lost to Vladimir Nikitin. During the Olympic tournament a number of judges were stood down and executive director Karim Bouzidi was removed from his position. The decision taken in Lausanne means that none of the 36 referees and judges involved in Rio 2016 will officiate in the sport until AIBA has completed its investigation.
AIBA has also said it will disband it’s five star referee and judge certification programme. The five star judges disappeared from the Olympic competition in Rio after AIBA suspended certain officials. They will also axe the draw commission, the three person panel which selected which officials would be involved in which contest. AIBA has recommended that the draw for official be automated by Swiss Timing.
“The current R&J certification system was also discussed, with tangible proposals put forward to optimise and grow the R&J community over the next four years in accordance with the values and ethics set out by AIBA commission members,” AIBA said in a statement.
AIBA has also decided that all five judges will be used to score contests from now. Previously three of the five were selected at random to determine the score. However they will stick with the 10 points must scoring system.
These decisions should be ratified and come into the statutes and bye-laws in December.
The federation stated, “As a governing body, AIBA will always seek to evolve the sport but will continue to refute unsubstantiated claims that have tarnished the reputation of our sport. The experience and knowledge required to officiate a boxing match takes years to accumulate, and moving forward it is essential that the reputation of the R&J’s is restored. The judging system can never become a scapegoat for boxers and coaches who perform disappointingly in the ring and display inappropriate behaviour or comments to media. This will be even more closely monitored in the future and firm disciplinary action will be taken when necessary.”
“Rio 2016 was a watershed moment for AIBA,” said President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu. “Boxing was in the spotlight for positive reasons, but occasionally also for the wrong ones. As an organisation, we have pulled together and I am extremely happy with the work that has been done this week by highly experienced members of our commissions, whose expertise and council will allow AIBA and its community to develop further throughout this next Olympic cycle.”
He added, “Education will be a big part of the HeadsUp program in 2017. We want our fans, the media and of course the boxers to better understand our judging system, and we need to remind them of and explain our criteria more clearly and to open up dialogue that takes into account all feedback that can contribute to optimising the current system, but the decisions taken this week will already have contributed deeply to strengthening our stature.”