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Frozen out by IOC at Buenos Aires meeting, boxing in danger of Olympic KO

The International Olympic Committee said on Friday that it has frozen relations with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) ahead of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires this weekend.

Friday 5 October, 2018
The president of the Italian Olympic Committee Giovanni Malago (second-left) jokes with journalists after the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), German Thomas Bach (out of frame) delivered a press conference at the end of an IOC executive board meeting in Buenos Aires on October 4, 2018.
The president of the Italian Olympic Committee Giovanni Malago (second-left) jokes with journalists after the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), German Thomas Bach (out of frame) delivered a press conference at the end of an IOC executive board meeting in Buenos Aires on October 4, 2018. Foto:JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

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The International Olympic Committee said on Friday that it has frozen relations with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and refused to accredit interim president, Gafur Rakhimov, for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires this weekened.

The IOC executive board, meeting in Buenos Aires ahead of the start of the Games, which include boxing, in the city on Saturday, issued a statement to AFP, saying they were "freezing contacts".

"The IOC is freezing all contacts with AIBA, except the ones on the working level which are necessary to implement the respective IOC decisions - for this reason Rakhimov will not be accredited for the Youth Olympic Games," they said.

This is only the latest statement in a week in which the IOC has made clear that it is prepared to kick the AIBA out of the Olympic movement and remove boxing from the 2020 Tokyo Games if "governance problems" were not resolved.

On Wednesday, the IOC said "these include the circumstances of the establishment of the election list." 

The IOC did not mention any names, but Rakhimov, who has been linked to organised crime by the US Treasury Department, appears to be a problem.

In February, the IOC said they were worried by the nomination of the Uzbek businessman for the AIBA's interim presidency, which he still took over.

That position is set to be confirmed at the AIBA congress in Moscow on November 2-3. Rakhimov faced a challenger, Serik Konakbayev, a Kazakh who won an Olympic silver medal, in Moscow, in 1980 for the USSR.

But on Wednesday, AIBA announced that Rakhimov is now the only candidate for the presidency. Since the AIBA constitution specifies that if there is only one candidate, there is no vote, Rakhimov will become president. 

In attempting to force change at the AIBA, the IOC had already suspended financial contributions to the AIBA.

The IOC has also said that while boxing will be part of the competition at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, it had "required independent oversight of the refereeing and judging...to protect the integrity of the competition and ensure the protection of the athletes."

At the end of August, Paquerette Girard Zappelli, the IOC's Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, broke with convention and wrote a letter to Rakhimov suggesting he did not stand for the AIBA presidency.

- AFP

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