Russian makes funding offer as Aiba hits out at Olympic uncertainty

Umar Kremlev, a member of the International Boxing Association’s (Aiba’s) executive committee, has offered to write off the organisation’s $16m (€14.2m) debt if the sport is guaranteed a place at next year’s Olympic Games, as the body hit out at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the uncertainty surrounding the situation.

The IOC has called for substantial reform of the governance of Aiba, with an inquiry into the organisation currently ongoing.

The inquiry could lead to Aiba being stripped of the right to organise boxing events at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The IOC has opted to freeze preparations for boxing at Tokyo 2020 but the Games’ organising committee has said it will proceed with preparation work as planned.

The IOC this week concluded a three-day meeting of its Executive Board, after which it issued a brief statement on the Aiba situation. The IOC said its ad-hoc Inquiry Committee had delivered an interim report and it is hoped a final report will be ready for the next Executive Board meeting in May.

In response, Aiba said in a statement that boxers “continue to be left in the dark” about the qualification process for Tokyo 2020.

Aiba’s statement continued: “While Aiba has provided not one, but four comprehensive reports over the course of the last year to the IOC EB for review, it is very surprising that the IOC are unable to provide a conclusive decision regarding boxing’s Olympic future at this time.

“Given that an additional report was submitted on February 20, 2019 and assurances were given that an official hearing and inquiry would be made before the IOC EB meeting in March 2019, Aiba is gravely concerned by the indifference shown towards the process and preparation of athletes for the Games.”

Aiba executive director Tom Virgets added: “We have done everything in our power to work with the IOC, providing them with numerous reports and documentation. There is no more information left to give; it is now time to wrap up this inquiry and move forward.”

Meanwhile, Kremlev has said that he would be willing to pay Aiba’s debt if the sport is included in the programme of events for Tokyo 2020.

The Associated Press news agency reports that Kremlev made the offer in a letter to senior IOC officials overseeing the ongoing investigation into Aiba. In a statement reported by the AP, Kremlev said: “I am ready to close all the debts of Aiba in full, so long as our favourite sport remains in the Olympic program.”

Last week, Aiba president Gafur Rakhimov said he would be stepping aside from the role amid the IOC’s inquiry into the body. He did not resign from the position, with Aiba statutes allowing him to return within months.