AIBA's Moustahsane makes claim of 'real change' and seeks IOC support
AIBA, the international boxing association, has insisted it is making headway in implementing reforms despite doubts over the process expressed only last week by the International Olympic Committee.
Mohamed Moustahsane, AIBA’s interim president, today spoke of “real change” at the governing body, and called on the IOC to provide the support to enable it to be restored as the overseeing body for boxing at the Olympic Games.
AIBA was suspended in May 2019 on the basis of concerns over its finances and governance, and the IOC established a dedicated task force to organise the qualifying and Olympic boxing competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, now in 2021.
Meanwhile, an IOC monitoring group led by United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic is assessing the reform process at AIBA as the latter strives to regain control of Olympic boxing in time for the 2024 games in Paris.
Following an IOC executive board meeting last week, IOC president Thomas Bach said that based on the most recent monitoring report, it was “very worried about the lack of progress with regard to the governance reforms of AIBA.
“There is talk of a presidential election, but we do not see any progress on these governance reforms, which are very important.”
AIBA has been without a permanent president since Gafur Rahimov of Uzbekistan stepped down in July 2019 amid US allegations of being involved in criminal activities.
However, Moroccan Moustahsane claims that the governing body is getting its house in order, citing, among other things, the recent appointment of Bernhard Heinrich Welten, an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, as chairman of the AIBA ethics commission, and Francois Paul Strydom, who already has a similar position at chess’s FIDE, as chairman of the AIBA disciplinary commission.
He said on Friday: “The AIBA family welcomes these two leading figures in sports governance. This is one more step in improving our processes. We will ensure that AIBA continues to meet international standards as a sports federation.”
The acting president also pointed out that the recently elected chairperson and vice-chairperson of the athletes commission had joined the AIBA executive committee as voting members and that the federation had extended its contract with the Independent Testing Agency to ensure it remains compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Other developments have included the reform commission working with national federations to propose changes to the AIBA constitution, which were approved by the executive committee in September, and will be subject to a vote at the virtual congress to be held on 12 and 13 December.
It is at that meeting that a new president is expected to be elected.
Prior to making way, Moustahsane is seeking further backing from the IOC to strengthen AIBA’s governance and transparency.
He said: “AIBA has made great strides in the past year. We have been very attentive to the recommendations of the IOC Task Force. I hope the IOC will support us on this journey to bring in the best practices, so AIBA can return to the Olympics for Paris 2024.”
Moustahsane added that it would be advantageous for the monitoring group to meet regularly with AIBA to discuss the progress in reforms before reporting back to the IOC.
Earlier this week, Anas Al Otaiba, head of the Asian Boxing Confederation, announced he will stand for the presidency of AIBA.
The United Arab Emirates official, who is currently a vice-president at AIBA and a member of the executive committee, joined other confirmed candidates in Suleyman Mikayilov of Azerbaijan and Domingo Solano of the Dominican Republic, although the influential Umar Kremlev of Russia is also expected to stand.