12/12/2018 10:22:59 PM

AIBA 'anxious' over Olympic qualifying amid IOC probe


Lausanne, Switzerland:The AIBA said on Wednesday that it had been left in the dark by the IOC following the launch of a probe into amateur boxing's troubled governing body that has put qualifying for the sport's 2020 Olympic event on hold.

Late last month the International Olympic Committee froze preparations for boxing at the 2020 Games in Tokyo and launched a probe regarding the "governance, ethics and financial management" of the AIBA, which last month elected as president a controversial Uzbek businessman the US Treasury Department claims is linked to organised crime.

Upon announcing the investigation the IOC suspended qualifying for the 2020 boxing tournament -- making it the only sport not to have its qualifiers approved -- and warned that it could be stripped of the right to run the competition.

The AIBA told AFP that since then they have received "no communication" from the IOC regarding the investigation and when qualifiers could begin, affecting the organisation's ability to hold events for athletes.

"We certainly are anxious to receive direction as we owe it to our athletes to provide them with a roadmap for the Olympic qualification process," AIBA executive director Tom Virgets told AFP.

"We are already behind schedule, and every day that these operational details are delayed impact the ability for us to provide our athletes with the quality events that they deserve!"

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

The election of AIBA leader Gafur Rakhimov, who rejects the charges from the US Treasury Department, created further friction.

When asked by AFP, an IOC spokesperson said that it had sent the AIBA "a letter describing the investigation and other measures taken immediately after the meeting of the Tokyo Executive Board (of the 2020 Olympics organising committee)".

The spokesman added the letter contained details including the composition of the inquiry commission chaired by Nenad Lalovic, IOC member and President of the International Wrestling Federation. 

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