Aiba president fires back, rejects talk of financial turmoil

International Boxing Association (Aiba) president Ching-Kuo Wu has hit out at the “personal agendas and privileges” of certain members of the organisation’s Executive Committee, amid talk of a challenge to his leadership and reports of the perilous financial position of the world governing body.

Aiba’s Executive Committee wrapped up a two-day meeting in Moscow yesterday (Tuesday) amid reports of major upheaval amongst its senior leadership. Earlier this week, Aiba maintained that its finances are in order amid reports in the Guardian and New York Times that it is facing severe financial difficulties owing to payments claimed by two commercial entities.

The UK and US newspapers both made the claims that relate to Azeri company Benkons and Chinese firm First Contract International Trade (FCIT). Benkons was said to have demanded that Aiba immediately repay a $10m (€8.78m) loan from 2011. Meanwhile, Aiba was also said to have been served documents by FCIT in Hong Kong demanding it pay back an 18.99m Swiss francs (€17.2m/$20.1m) investment into its marketing arm, BMA.

However, Aiba said its Executive Committee unanimously approved audit and financial reports from professional services firm KPMG, and “were pleased” to receive “solid factual and documented elements” showing that Aiba’s alleged responsibility to repay the FCIT investment is “groundless.”

Aiba added that KPMG presented the ExCo with an audit for the first time in three years, noting the “improved financial transparency and cooperation” since the 2016 summer Olympic Games.

Wu’s position has come into question amid talk of an apparent vote of no confidence in his leadership. However, he has expressed confidence in his position with Aiba stating that an extraordinary congress will be held in the next three months to examine the issues that have emerged within the ExCo membership.

Wu (centre of picture) said: “These two days of intensive meetings have truly confirmed the positive direction that Aiba has taken over the past 10 months, but the emergence of a negative faction within the Executive Committee that appears to be bent on creating a false narrative in the media is undermining the organisation’s attempts to move boxing forward. I was elected by and work for over 100 National Federations, not 13 members of the Executive Committee.

“Over the past two days, this faction’s focus on political manoeuvring rather than the dynamic presentations that have shown the bright future of our sport speaks volumes about their priorities, but nonetheless important decisions were made that leave me with the responsibility to build this new age for boxing.

“When members of the Executive Committee threaten to walk out of their meeting before having heard the financial audit and reports they requested, it makes me question their motives for being on the Executive Committee of a sport they claim to love, while focussing on personal agendas and privileges.

“These individuals have been on the powerful Executive Committee for years and have been integral in all decision-making. The indifference they have shown to the development of boxing has been in marked contrast to the unity and hard work shown by Aiba staff.”