The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board meeting starts next Tuesday in Lausanne (SUI) and the status of the International Boxing Association (“AIBA”) is on the agenda.
This is how serious the situation is for AIBA: it’s recently-elected president, Gafur Rakhimov (UZB) is stepping down. In a statement released today (22nd), Rakhimov stated in part:
“[G]iven the current situation, I have informed the AIBA Executive Committee of my intent to step aside as AIBA President in accordance with the AIBA Statutes and Bylaws, which allow the President to renounce to exercise his powers and to be replaced by an Interim President. I have called an AIBA Executive Committee’s teleconference meeting over the weekend to address this matter and initiate the process of appointing an Interim President.”
Rakhimov was elected last November in a highly-contested election, despite being listed by the U.S. Treasury as part of a drug distribution ring, a situation which has been noted by the IOC. Rakhimov addressed that issue squarely:
“However, despite these efforts, there have been many discussions these last few months about the future of Olympic boxing. A lot of that was mainly focused on politics and not sport. While I had truly hoped and believed that sport and politics could be separated, and that the good work and positive changes being infused into AIBA would be recognized, the politically based discussions have put into question the progress being made throughout the AIBA organization.
“Once again, as I have stated before on numerous occasions, I attest and confirm that the allegations against me were fabricated and based on politically motivated lies; I trust that the truth will prevail. Nevertheless, I have always said that I would never put myself above Boxing, and as President, I have a duty to do everything in my power to serve our sport and our athletes.”
Rakhimov also noted the advances made within AIBA against doping, for better financial controls and for improved systems of refereeing and judging.
The AIBA posting stated that no further comment would be made until next Monday. The IOC Executive Board will meet, starting on Tuesday, and while the IOC has indicated that there will be a boxing tournament in Tokyo, it may or may not be under the guidance of AIBA.