As part of a number of reforms, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has created an independent Boxing Integrity Unit to safeguard the sport, following discussions during the recent AIBA Boxing World Championships.

Development of the unit was informed by the recommendations of a ‘group of independent experts’, the Governance Reform Group Chair, chaired by Professor Ulrich Haas, following a number of allegations of corruption in amateur boxing. 

These allegations included accusations of judging irregularities and judging decisions at the 2016 Rio Olympics after a series of controversial results, leading to the AIBA to commission an investigation led by Professor Richard McLaren, the man famous for uncovering evidence of an extensive Russian doping programme.

McLaren has since conducted vetting and background checks of referees and judges ahead of this year’s World Boxing Championships, along with his team at McLargen Global Sporting Solutions.

AIBA President, Umar Kremlev, remarked: “For too long, AIBA was on the back foot for issues of governance and sporting integrity. I am very proud of the way this has changed, with our new culture of reform ensuring real progress towards best practice in governance and the delivery of fair fights.

“Being surrounded by the world’s best boxers here in Belgrade, it is only right for our sport’s leadership to do its best. AIBA has acknowledged the problems of the past. We have brought in independent experts to help guide us and now we must boldly embrace the future.”

AIBA plans to launch the new unit in the second quarter of 2022, pending final approval from the international governing body’s Elective Congress, with the task of combating match manipulation, abuse and harassment and will conduct eligibility checks of candidates. 

Meanwhile, the AIBA Congress on 12 December intends to implement ‘enhanced eligibility checks for candidates’ whilst also reviewing proposals concerning the composition and size of the authority’s board of Directors. 

Additional recommendations for the role and scope of the Boxing Integrity Unit will also be assessed upon the submission of the Governance Reform Group’s final report.

“The list of top priorities mirrors the most urgent measures that are going to be recommended in our final report,” said Professor Haas.

“The report is in the process of being finalised and its goal is to significantly improve AIBA’s governance. The list of top priorities and the final report are based on widely-accepted benchmarks for the highest levels of integrity and good governance, including those of ASOIF and IPACS.

“While the effective practical implementation of our recommendations must be carefully monitored with independent credibility, a decision by AIBA to adopt the measures proposed by our group can certainly serve as a basis for real and positive change.”

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