Aiba claims compliance with Wada Code, president fights US claims

The International Boxing Association (Aiba) has claimed it is now in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) Code, while the body’s interim president, Gafur Rakhimov, has instigated legal action in a bid to clear his name in the sporting world.

Aiba today (Monday) said that following the review of its Corrective Action Repot (CAR), Wada has concluded that all non-conformities based on the CAR have been addressed appropriately by governing body.

Aiba last month announced a new partnership to outsource the management of its anti-doping program as part of continued efforts to assure the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over its governance.

The Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU) of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) is set to take control of the key anti-doping activities of Aiba and its World Series of Boxing (WSB) competition. Aiba today AIBA said it will join the International Testing Authority (ITA) as soon as it is up and running, with an anticipated date of June.

Aiba’s anti-doping system has previously been identified by the IOC as an area of concern, amid unease over its running of the sport. The IOC opened an investigation into Aiba in February and could remove boxing from the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic Games due to concerns over the body’s finances and governance.

The IOC has already frozen financial contributions for Aiba and has said that they will not be reinstated until a satisfactory outcome is reached. Tom Virgets, Aiba executive director, said today: “Being in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code marks a big achievement for AIBA and shows its commitment to move our organisation forward. We believe this is just the first step and we will continue our talks with Wada as we working together in the fight for clean sport.”

In November, Ching Kuo Wu was suspended and then stepped down as Aiba president following a bitter dispute with his executive committee. Rakhimov was installed as the new interim president following the resignation of Franco Falcinelli, but this appointment immediately drew negative headlines for Aiba.

The U.S. Treasury Department in December froze any assets Rakhimov held under American jurisdiction. “Rakhimov has been described as having moved from extortion and car theft to becoming one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals and an important person involved in the heroin trade,” the U.S. Treasury Department said at the time.

Rakhimov was linked to ‘Thieves-in-Law’ by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. US authorities said he allegedly supported the criminal group by “providing warning of law enforcement issues, arranging meetings, and addressing other problems.”

However, Rakhimov has now instructed lawyers in Washington and London to submit a petition to the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) aimed at removing his name from OFAC’s ‘Specially Designated Nationals List’.

In a statement, Rakhimov said he had retained the services of Ferrari & Associates in Washington as well as renowned libel lawyers Carter-Ruck in London. Rakhimov said the move to engage the two firms shows that he is serious about proving his innocence in the face of “fabricated media allegations of criminal associations that do not exist.”

The petition being submitted by Ferrari & Associates will seek to demonstrate that Rakhimov does not meet the criteria for designation, and will address allegations against the interim president which he claims are derived from political persecution and harassment in his birthplace, Uzbekistan, initiated by the regime of the country’s previous president.

Rakhimov said: “I have never been associated with any organised crime group, and I have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime by the authorities in any jurisdiction in the world. While the U.S. Treasury appeal goes forward I am continuing my efforts to restore good governance and financial stability to Aiba.”

The IOC had told Aiba to produce a new report detailing reform measures by today.