LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 28 (Reuters) - Boxing’s Olympic status will not be under threat at the Paris 2024 Games as the international boxing association (AIBA) is working on major reform after years of corruption, bad governance and mismanagement, AIBA President Umar Kremlev said on Monday.
Elected in December to head amateur boxing’s governing body, Kremlev has been implementing sweeping changes in order for it to be recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in time for the Paris Games.
“The decisions were taken by the IOC but if we become one of the best federations then I don’t see a reason for being excluded (from Paris),” said Kremlev. “We want to put a full stop to the past and look ahead.”
The IOC suspended the AIBA in 2019, stripping it of any involvement in Olympic qualifiers and the tournament at the Tokyo Games next month over a string of governance, finance, refereeing and ethical issues.
“My confidence (for the Paris Games) lies in my confidence in what we are doing,” he told Reuters. “We are acting and we have a lot to show to the world.
“It will take another six months to solve the financial issues. Number two, governance reform, is in a good shape and will be completed pretty soon.”
AIBA have also brought in Richard McLaren, who has led investigations into Russian doping and corruption in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), to investigate corruption within the boxing body.
“These are autonomous people and we need their help,” Kremlev had earlier on Monday told a news conference to mark his six months in office, with McLaren appearing on a video link.
“We do have our vision and resources that enable us to hire the best of the best, the cream of the cream,” Kremlev said.
“If you want to be the best you need as a helper only the best people. The recommendations for reforms produced by the IOC will be implemented by the end of this year.”
“I am responsible for this as president of AIBA. We want AIBA to be the best,” he said.
Apart from reforms, the Russian has also been raising funds to pay off a multi-million dollar AIBA debt.
The IOC said last year that AIBA’s overall debts had reached $16 million and could rise to as much as $29 million.
Kremlev, who has pledged to attract revenues of $50 million over the next two years, has signed Russian energy firm Gazprom as a sponsor while also paying off last month a $10 million debt to Azeri company Benkons LLC.
Boxing’s Olympic status will be reviewed after the Tokyo Games, the IOC has said. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)