Kielce, Poland, 21 April: The AIBA Board of Directors met today in person and online, to discuss and approve key reforms. The meeting coincided with the ongoing AIBA Youth World Championships. It opened with an expression of concern and support for Rashed Al-Swaisat, the Jordanian boxer who was seriously injured earlier in the competition. The Board of Directors then considered a wide range of developments aimed at reforming AIBA.
“AIBA’s first thoughts are with Rashed Al-Swaisat, his family and his teammates. We will continue to do all that we can to support them,” said AIBA President Umar Kremlev. “The Board of Directors also showed its support for key AIBA reforms that are long overdue. It is vital that we make progress in terms of our overall strategy, our governance, finances, sporting integrity and more. I am very happy that we have been able to quickly put AIBA’s finances in order thanks to new sponsors, including the biggest one, our new General PartnerGazprom. We will now quickly turn our attention to securing the changes necessary to make AIBA one of the model and leading International Federations.”
President Kremlev outlined his intention to ensure that AIBA’s many and varied workstreams towards reform are brought together as part of a roadmap towards a strong future for the organisation and for boxing. He also outlined his commitment to ensuring that AIBA is supported by leading external organisations and individuals with experience of successful reform in an international sports leadership context. “We must consider thoughts and voices from both inside and outside AIBA and boxing, in order to secure our future,” said President Kremlev.
AIBA has already had some success in improving its governance, including the size and role of the Board of Directors, the introduction of eligibility criteria for elected officials and the appointment of independents to important roles like its Ethics Committee, Disciplinary Committee, R&J Committee, Champions and Veterans Committee, Women’s Committee and others. “We understand that to restore confidence and trust requires additional efforts,” said President Kremlev. “AIBA is committed to inviting independent experts to propose positive changes, in order to make AIBA’s governance a good example to others.”
A finance report was presented to the Board of Directors, reflecting the financial independence that has been secured through the signing sponsors agreements. A plan for the settlement of AIBA’s outstanding debts was approved as part of this report. In addition, a Finance Committee was formed with Felipe Martinez Martinez serving as representative of the Board of Directors alongside two external experts: Patrick Bosshard and Didier Wicht. “Before my election, I promised to ensure that AIBA’s debts would be settled through my efforts,” said President Kremlev. “As the leader of AIBA’s team, I am very proud to welcome a company, Gazprom, that has a track record of prestigious sports sponsorship. This partnership is more than financial and AIBA is grateful that Gazprom will also provide the expertise that comes with its status as a world leader in a vital area of the global economy, together with its and its social responsibility support and participation in social projects.” Moreover, all National Federations will be provided with annual financial and equipment support. The Board of Directors approved criteria and procedures for this assistance.
The AIBA Board of Directors discussed the previous investigation by AIBA officials into the conduct of those involved with judging and refereeing at the boxing tournament of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. President Kremlev proposed that a fresh investigation be conducted by an Ad Hoc Investigation Committee, this time with independent oversight and involvement. The proposal was adopted. “When boxers step into the ring, they must have complete confidence to know that they will be treated fairly and that their efforts will be counted properly. We are already making progress in this area, for example with the live scoring we have introduced for the first time at an AIBA Youth World Championships here in Poland,” said President Kremlev. “But when there are allegations of improper behaviour, it is right that they be investigated with independent oversight so that there can be full confidence in the investigation. Not only should referees and judges found to have been involved in wrongdoing be sanctioned, but also management involved in such wrongdoing. Those who brought our sports in such a troubled condition, which are overcoming, should receive lifetime bans from boxing. We have to carry out an honest and transparent investigation. The best boxers should always win, while AIBA should be a guarantor of transparency and honesty.”