Desperate to save boxing’s future as an Olympic sport, the suspended International Boxing Association (AIBA) has accepted crucial governance reforms suggested by an independent group, including holding elections by June next year, elevating the secretary-general’s role and appointing a liaison officer to handle its troubled equation with the IOC.
Shadow over Paris
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which suspended AIBA in 2019 and conducted the Tokyo Olympics boxing event through a task force, has reiterated “that serious concerns about AIBA’s governance, finances and refereeing and judging remain” and the future of boxing in the 2024 Paris Games is not secure.
The AIBA has responded by stating that it would do all that the IOC demands of it.
“...the Board of Directors is recommending to the Congress that elections shall be conducted no later than 30 June 2022,” the AIBA stated.
“As an option, these elections may take place during the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, that were rescheduled to May 2022, however, the exact date to be determined by the Board on 31 December 2021 at the latest,” it added.
The decision to implement the reforms came ahead of the AIBA extraordinary congress on December 12 at a meeting of its Board of Directors.
The Board unanimously approved the recommendations and constitutional amendments in a report by independent Governance Reform Group (GRG), led by Professor Ulrich Haas.
“Throughout the last year, AIBA has made continued progress in terms of sporting and financial integrity as well as good governance.
“Professor Haas and his team of independent legal experts have pointed us in the right direction, so that we can achieve a level of governance that is best practice for international federations,” said AIBA president Umar Kremlev.
Among other proposed reforms, GRG has recommended reducing the number of AIBA directors, and the world body has responded by agreeing to limit the size of the Board to 18.
In addition, an independent Boxing Integrity Unit will be empowered to address competition manipulation, abuse, harassment, eligibility checks of election candidates and other issues.
GRG also proposed establishing a new interdisciplinary Strategy Committee to review AIBA’s long-term strategy, develop mid-term and short-term goals.