Aiba continues reform efforts with ITA partnership

The International Boxing Association (Aiba) has become the latest international federation (IF) to partner with the new International Testing Agency (ITA) as it seeks to further convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its reform efforts.

Following its previous relationship with the Doping-Free Sports Unit of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), Aiba said it is fully outsourcing its anti-doping activities to the ITA, including testing, result management (for any anti-doping rule violations), intelligence-gathering, test-distribution planning, education and Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs).

In May, IOC president Thomas Bach warned Aiba that it needs to make more progress in implementing vital governance reforms or it could face being blocked from being on the programme for the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic Games.

The IOC Executive Board requested an update from Aiba at its previous executive board meeting in February, but Bach in May said that a progress report showed insufficient steps had been taken to resolve issues surrounding finances, integrity and the administration of the governing body. The IOC said that Aiba must complete further reforms by July 11 ahead of the next executive board meeting.

Aiba’s anti-doping measures have been one of the areas of concern for the IOC and the body said its partnership with the ITA reaffirms its “strong efforts” to bring positive change and further improvements to its governance and anti-doping system.

Gafur Rahimov, interim president of Aiba, said: “Aiba is committed to clean sport and I am pleased that we are amongst the first Olympic International Federations to join the ITA. This new partnership is very much aligned with Aiba’s strategy going forward and represents a big milestone for our organisation and the future of boxing.”

Benjamin Cohen, director general of the ITA, added: “By entrusting the full range of its anti-doping programme to us at the ITA, we hope in turn that we can enable Aiba to focus fully on its core mission of developing boxing. We look forward to providing Aiba with our expertise and are fully committed to support Aiba in its fight against anti-doping.”

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) last week signed on as the first new IF partner for the ITA. The new independent body will seek to provide doping controls and other services to IFs and Major Event Organisations (MEOs).

The ITA is a not-for-profit Swiss foundation. It will provide anti-doping services to those IFs and MEOs that wish to delegate their anti-doping programmes to a body that operates independently from sports organisations and national interests.

GAISF’s DFSU will remain intact and become the operational nucleus of the ITA, ensuring the staff expertise required to provide anti-doping services under its new, independent governance structure.