10/6/2018 1:21:32 PM

Boxing chief Rakhimov: "I've never had criminal involvement"

Boxing chief Rakhimov: "I

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Gafur Rakhimov, the interim president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), whose sport has been threatened with expulsion from the Olympics, has told AFP he has "never been involved in transnational criminal organisations."

In an exclusive written response to questions from AFP, Rakhimov said he was "sorting out the mess" and added "I hope that I will not be the only candidate for president" in the upcoming AIBA election.

On Friday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it was "freezing contacts" with AIBA and would refuse Rakhimov accreditation for the Youth Olympics, starting on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

Rakhimov, from Uzbekistan, has been interim president of AIBA since January, replacing CK Wu who was ousted late last year.

AIBA has not ratified any other candidates and under its constitution that means Rakhimov will be elected by acclaim at the conference in Moscow on November 2-3. 

The IOC on Wednesday listed its concerns with AIBA's governance saying "these include the circumstances of the establishment of the election list."

Rakhimov said he was trapped by the constitution drawn up by the previous leadership.

"These somewhat bizarre regulations, which were prepared and put in place by the former President and his Executive Director, also had the objective of making it difficult for others than the leadership to run for positions in AIBA," he wrote.

"We in the new leadership of AIBA could not change these regulations prior to our congress next month, because only the congress has the authority to do so."

Rakhimov said he could not interfere with the AIBA Election Committee, but he had "asked our lawyers and the administration to see if anything can be done to eliminate such doubts or questions, and if possible allow for more potential candidates to run."

In a letter to Rakhimov in August, Paquerette Girard Zappelli, the IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, referred to a "decision by the US Department of The Treasury to consider you as part of, or linked to, two transnational criminal organisations."

Rakhimov said: "This of course made me very sad and it has been stressful - not least for my family.

"I felt that it would not help AIBA and the boxers worldwide if I should spend time and energy on responding to this, no matter how unfair and insulting it appeared to me. Instead I spend my all my days – and many nights – sorting out the mess that the former AIBA leadership had left behind.

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