IOC 'freezes planning' for 2020 Olympic boxing over AIBA concerns

The IOC executive board decided to “freeze the planning for the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020”.

The IOC said its inquiry “can lead to the withdrawal of recognition for AIBA, as it cited “several points of significant concern” over governance of the body.   -  getty images

The International Olympic Committee Friday halted preparations for the Tokyo 2020 boxing competition as it announced an inquiry into the sport's troubled governing body.

READ| AIBA: No fear of going bankrupt

The IOC executive board decided to “freeze the planning for the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020”, it said in a statement following talks in the Japanese capital.

ALSO READ | AIBA 'exceeded' governance requirements, says Rakhimov

The IOC said its inquiry “can lead to the withdrawal of recognition for AIBA, as it cited “several points of significant concern” over governance of the body.

However, the IOC also stressed that it would make “all efforts to protect the athletes and ensure that a boxing tournament can take place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 regardless of these measures”.

It added that it still had concerns over the “governance, ethics and financial management” of AIBA, which last month elected as president a controversial Uzbek businessman linked to organised crime by the US Treasury Department, a claim he denies.

IOC sports director Kit McConnell said qualifying for the 2020 boxing tournament had been put on hold, making it the only sport not to have its qualifiers approved.

“We are not going ahead, while the inquiry is under way, with any qualification system for the Olympic boxing competition in Tokyo,” McConnell said.

IOC and AIBA at loggerheads

Relations between the IOC and AIBA took a dive at the 2016 Rio Olympics when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout fixing.

Ties were further battered earlier this month when AIBA elected Gafur Rakhimov as leader, who strenuously rejects the charges from the US Treasury Department.

AIBA made a last-ditch bid to persuade the IOC that it had cleaned up its act, issuing a flurry of statements lauding its own efforts on financing and judging.