PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA – Boxing could be excluded from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if the sport’s worldwide governing body does not resolve problems ranging from governance to anti-doping issues, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Sunday.
Following a meeting of its executive board, Bach said the IOC had upheld its decision in December to suspend any financial aid to the Association of International Boxing Associations because of the ongoing problems, also including finance and refereeing.
While Bach said boxing’s place and athlete quota at Tokyo are final, he made it equally clear the IOC has every right to review the 2020 program if the sport does not sort itself out fast.
“The IOC executive board is not satisfied with the report prepared by AIBA on its governance, finance, refereeing and anti-doping issues,” Bach said in his first press conference ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics, which open on Friday.
“We are extremely worried about the governance of AIBA . . . The IOC reserves the right to review the right of boxing on the program of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Bach said he expects a report by April 30 from AIBA, which will now be under investigation by the IOC’s chief compliance ethics and compliance officer.
AIBA has been riddled by in-fighting among executives, allegations of match-fixing at the previous Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and a lack of transparency over funding.
On the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to uphold the appeal of 28 Russians who were banned for doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Bach described it as “extremely disappointing and surprising.”
“We never expected this,” he said. “So far (CAS) was not able to deliver a reasoned decision, which we are eagerly waiting for and asked CAS to speed the procedure up.”
That, however, could take time. Bach said the explanation from CAS may not come until the end of February, meaning the IOC may not be able to appeal the CAS decision until after Pyeongchang closes.
The German, nevertheless, stressed CAS’ decision announced Thursday does not mean the 28 who had their suspensions overturned have been cleared to compete in Pyeongchang, saying participation at the Olympic Games is on an invitational basis.
Bach said he expects the review of the active 15 (13 athletes, two coaches) of the 28 by an independent panel to be completed before the games open, which will likely determine their eligibility for Pyeongchang.
Bach called for internal reform at CAS, which is presided by IOC vice president John Coates, who also chairs the coordination committee of the Tokyo Olympics.
“The IOC executive board is not satisfied at all by CAS,” Bach said.