THE BIG PICTURE: AIBA accepts Rakhimov’s resignation, names Mohamed Moustahsane as President

The Executive Committee of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) met by teleconference over the weekend and accepted the resignation of Gafur Rakhimov (UZB) and nominated the head of the African Boxing Confederation, Morocco’s Mohamed Moustahsane as the Interim President.

Moustahsane, 50, is a medical doctor who started in boxing as a ringside physician, then the national team doctor for Morocco and then began working his way through up the political chain in AIBA. He became a member of the AIBA Executive Committee in 2014.

He still needs to be elected by the AIBA Executive Committee, and this requires a vote by mail, which is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

As for the IOC’s continuing inquiry, the AIBA statement noted that “AIBA further received additional follow-up questions by the IOC ad-hoc inquiry committee last Friday afternoon, which will be answered by AIBA in due time. AIBA is however surprised that no further information was provided with regards to the hearing requested nor did a hearing with the IOC ad-hoc committee take place.”

The IOC indicated that no decision about AIBA’s future status will be made until June.

Equally important in AIBA’s announcement was a lengthy note about its finances, which the IOC considers to be considerably suspect. Rakhimov has commented repeatedly about the improvement in AIBA’s situation, and the statement included:

“Finally, the interim audited accounts which closed on 31.12.2018 have now been published. Those accounts confirm the improvement in AIBA’s financial situation under President Rahimov’s mandate, notably that AIBA’s debt was reduced by almost USD 3,000,000 in the last six months due to the exercised discipline and fiscal policies implemented. The audit further confirms the reliability of AIBA’s projections presented early in 2019. While AIBA remains over-indebted due to mismanagement of the past, the 2018 accounts show that AIBA’s financial situation is viable and that any outstanding debt will be solved in the future, subject to its Olympic presence.”

The audited financials were not posted by Tuesday, but AIBA has been in considerable trouble in recent years, posting losses of CHF 16.6 million in 2014-15, CHF 7.2 million in 2016-17 and CHF 1.8 million in 2017-18. As of 30 June 2018, AIBA had asserts of CHF 3.9 million and liabilities of CHF 22.9 million. Not good. (The Swiss franc and U.S. dollar are about equal.)

The problem is that in the 2014-18 quadrennial, AIBA had CHF 28.3 million in revenue, of which about CHF 17 million came from the International Olympic Committee, and CHF 51.8 million in expenses!

Despite the optimism, if the IOC decided not to have AIBA continue as its international federation for boxing – if it continues with boxing in the Games – it’s hard to see how the organization can maintain itself. That’s the hand Moustahsane is being dealt as the interim chief of AIBA, organized in 1946.