Sport Ireland have revealed their concerns at the announcement that the International Olympic Committee will initiate an inquiry into the International Boxing Association (AIBA) thus freezing “planning for the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020.”
The IOC stressed it still wanted boxing to go ahead at Tokyo 2020 but warned its inquiry could lead to the governing body being stripped of the right to run the competition.
But the IOC said 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”.
Relations between the two organisations became even more strained earlier this month when controversial Uzbek businessman, Gafur Rakhimov, was elected as President of the AIBA. Rakhimov has been linked to organised crime by the US Treasury Department, a claim he denies.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, said:
“Sport Ireland is deeply concerned, but not surprised, by the IOC announcement made today. The IOC have been clear on their position on this matter for a considerable time.
“When Gafur Rakhimov was elected as the President earlier this month, AIBA and the international boxing community would have been acutely aware of the IOC’s warning that the election of Mr. Rakhimov as President would jeopardise boxing’s place on the programme for Tokyo 2020.
“AIBA’s long-standing governance concerns and the issues that exist between AIBA and the IOC are of significant concern to Sport Ireland. The election of Mr. Rakhimov is not the only governance issue of note within AIBA.
“The current situation creates great uncertainty for the outstanding athletes within Ireland’s boxing high performance programme. There had already been significant worry amongst the sporting community that the qualification pathway for Tokyo had not been announced.
“Sport Ireland will continue to monitor the situation and, in the meantime, work with the IABA to prepare Ireland’s boxers to the highest standards in the hope that a resolution is found to the current situation.”