The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has given yet another twist to its row with the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF).

In what is developing into an almost comical bout between the two boxing bodies, the latest salvo by the AIBA, fired through a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) member in India, Randhir Singh, has again dashed Indian hopes of an early resolution to the impasse.

Suspended by the AIBA in December last, following the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IABF had been trying to resolve the issue, though a little haphazardly.

In the meantime, the AIBA has blown hot and cold. It first gave the impression that fresh elections to the IABF could pave the way for a solution, then, citing the IOC sanction against the IOA, it stated that until that suspension was lifted its suspension also would remain. The boxers were initially allowed to compete, then barred, and then allowed again.

The AIBA first refused to deal with the ‘suspended IABF’ officials, indicated it would be willing to communicate with the Sports Authority of India or the Union Sports Ministry, then perhaps realised that its open admission that it wanted to deal only with the government could possibly be interpreted as giving in to government control.

“Government interference” being taboo to the IOC, was also unacceptable to the AIBA after its initial enthusiasm died down. It, in fact, told SAI not to attempt to communicate, a message it had conveyed earlier to the “suspended IABF” also.

The IABF has handled the matter rather amateurishly. ‘Amateur’ is a word that the AIBA wants the Indian federation to drop, but that had been done long ago though without the ‘registration’ formalities for the new name, IBF, being completed. Yet, the IABF has gone about the task as though things could be resolved just by issuing a few press statements or by amending a few clauses in its constitution.

AIBA’s latest ire is because of the IABF’s disclosure that its amended draft constitution has been approved by the international body.

In a letter to Randhir Singh, the AIBA chief, Wu Ching-Kuo, has stated that the constitution review was still “a work in progress”. He has also stated that the non-recognised IABF Secretary-General had convened a special general meeting to get the constitution amendments passed. He has warned that if the IABF persisted with these “illegal actions”, the AIBA would be forced to extend the suspension “as long as necessary”.

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