THE BIG PICTURE: Boxing confirmed for Tokyo 2020, but organized by the IOC, not AIBA

/Updated: see footnote/The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board kept its promise to the athletes.

There will be a boxing tournament at the Tokyo Games in 2020, but the International Boxing Association – AIBA – will not organize it. The IOC’s statement included:

“After a thorough discussion, the IOC EB recommended to the IOC Session that boxing maintains its place on the sports programme of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The Olympic Boxing Tournament Tokyo 2020, including all qualifying competitions, shall be organized following guidelines established by the IOC Executive Board.”

The statement further explained:

“The Inquiry Committee was set up by the IOC EB on 30 November 2018 due to the ongoing seriousness of the issues in the areas of finance, governance, ethics and refereeing and judging. Those areas of concern were already identified in 2017 and closely monitored. Since then there has been a lack of satisfactory progress.”

The statement elaborated further on AIBA’s future:

“The status of AIBA’s full recognition will in principle be reviewed after Tokyo 2020. The evolution of AIBA’s situation and progress towards compliance with the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics are monitored through a special monitoring committee which consist of the members of the former Inquiry Committee.

“’Today’s decision was taken in the interest of the athletes and the sport of boxing. We want to ensure that the athletes can live their dream and participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 while drawing the necessary consequences for AIBA following the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee. At the same time, we offer a pathway back to lifting the suspension, but there needs to be further fundamental change,’ said IOC President Thomas Bach.”

The IOC is forming a task force to run the Tokyo boxing tournament, to be chaired by Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) chair – and IOC member – Morinari Watanabe (JPN). However, as the IOC’s statement points out, all of this must be confirmed by the IOC Session, taking place from 24-26 June.

Asked at his news conference after the meeting about whether the IOC had ever done anything like before, Bach expressed his regret at the whole process:

“I would not remember that the IOC has established such a task force, but there was a need for it and quite frankly, I also hope that it’s the last time that we need this, that we will not face another time such an agglomeration and such a high number of issues with any international federation. I really hope this is unique experience there.”

He also noted that the athletes were the winners:

“For the boxers of the world, I think this is a very good day; this is good news, because now they know there will be an Olympic boxing tournament in Tokyo. Now they know that they will have appropriate qualification system, and now they know that the IOC and the task force and all the partners which may be involved will do everything, that this will be safe and fair competition in which all the athletes have equal chances.”

AIBA posted a statement on its Web site: “The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has taken note of the announcement made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). AIBA is currently reviewing the report from the IOC and will not make any comments until further clarification is made, however AIBA does look forward to working with the IOC in the future.”

/Updated to include the AIBA statement at 11:25 a.m. PDT/