IOC officially suspends Aiba’s Olympic recognition

The International Olympic Committee yesterday (Wednesday) officially stripped the International Boxing Association (Aiba) of its Olympic status, confirming that a boxing tournament will go ahead in Tokyo next year without the involvement of the sport’s Olympic federation. 

The decision, ratified at the IOC’s 134th Session in  Lausanne, Switzerland, was widely expected after the IOC announced last month that it was to take the organisation of boxing for 2020 in-house. 

The stripping of Aiba’s Olympic status follows months of wrangling between the IOC and Aiba over a number of issues, dating back to the suspension of all 36 of boxing’s officials and referees after judging scandal at Rio 2016. Last month, a report from an IOC Inquiry Committee stated that “serious governance issues remain…leading to serious reputational, legal and financial risks for the IOC, the Olympic Movement and its stakeholders”.

The officials who sat on that Inquiry Committee are now set to form a Monitoring Committee, which will continue to analyse Aiba’s development and progress with a view to potential reinstatement after Tokyo 2020.

With reported debts of around $17m and no access to revenues generated by the Tokyo Olympics, Aiba’s long-term future remains precarious. The IOC will expect to see significant reforms – including the removal of Aiba’s controversial Uzbek president Gafur Rakhimov, who has links to organised crime and is the subject of sanctions from the US Treasury Department. It was his election at the end of last year that led to a worsening of relations between Aiba and the IOC and eventually to the current impasse.

IOC Executive Board member Nenad Lalović, who will chair the Monitoring Committee, said the body’s future “will not be bright” if it failed to implement “fast changes…that can give results for the long term.”

The IOC has established a taskforce, led by International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) president Morinari Watanabe, to oversee the organisation of qualification events ahead of Tokyo, as well as the Olympic boxing competition itself.