The International Olympic Council (IOC) is on the warpath. With Russia now banned from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics for their state-sponsored violation of anti-doping laws, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has similarly become an association of interest for the IOC.
The Olympic discipline that has proved most profitable for Irish athletes, Inside the Games has revealed that, in recent Olympic games, Kenneth Egan (2008), Darren Sutherland (2008), Paddy Barnes (2008, 2012), Katie Taylor (2012), John-Joe Nevin (2012) and Michael Conlan (2012) have been amongst the Irish medal winners.
Yet, most famously, it was Conlan who in the Rio Olympic games of 2016 demonstrated his consternation with an association that are “cheats…fucking cheats.”
While some scorned Conlan’s impassioned response to his defeat by Russian boxer Vladimir Nikitin as petty and unnecessary, it would appear that the IOC are finally catching up with what Conlan was brave enough to say almost 18 months ago; “Amateur boxing stinks, from the core right to the top.”
Speaking on behalf of the IOC, President Thomas Bach outlined the concerns the council has with amateur boxing, and the actions they are taking as a result:
The IOC Executive Board has major concerns with regard to the situation in different aspects.
There is governance issues, there is the fact that the financial statements have not been made fully transparent, there are still questions open with regard to judging, referees and anti-doping.
Therefore, we have asked AIBA for a full report by the end of January, because in the meantime they will have a General Assembly, so we want to see the measures they are taking to address these issues.
Perhaps most crucially, the IOC has decided to cease any financial contributions the council makes to the AIBA until such issues have been properly rectified.
With the exception of assisting with the running of certain competitions, the IOC have justified this decision on the basis that they wish to “protect athletes and sports”.
Already subject to numerous internal power-struggles, this latest news will not be a welcome addition to the AIBA’s seemingly long list of issues.
Should they fail to resolve the issues that the IOC have brought to the fore, one is left to wonder what state amateur boxing will be in by the time the Tokyo Olympics rolls around in 2020.