The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has launched an independent investigation of competitions at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Boxing chiefs have hired McLaren Sport Solution (MGSS), led by Professor Richard McLaren, to conduct a two-phase independent investigation, starting with the refereeing and judging of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games boxing tournament.
McLaren was the man who uncovered the full extent of Russian state-sponsored doping. He said:
“Boxing has a long history of questionable activities,” said McLaren. “There have been multiple past investigations into the sport that have either not been completed or acted upon. It is time for boxing to turn the page, but it cannot do so without a full accounting of any alleged misconduct."
The IOC had identified the refereeing and judging of the tournament as an issue in its report which led to AIBA’s suspension. The commissioning of an independent investigation is the latest step AIBA has taken under the leadership of President Umar Kremlev to address past wrongdoings and implement reforms that will safeguard the sport in the future.
“Boxing was created when rules were introduced to ensure fair fights. Any undermining of those rules is unacceptable. For some time, it has been clear that AIBA could do more in following up on allegations of unfairness. Unfortunately, in order to move to a brighter future, we must now also shine a light on AIBA’s past,” said Kremlev.
“The best way to do this is to bring in independent experts to uncover any wrongdoing so that we can learn any lessons that need to be learned and restore confidence. Professor McLaren has an unparalleled track record when it comes to sporting investigations and I encourage everyone in the world of boxing who may have evidence of interest to step forward and share it with McLaren and his team.”
The report on the first stage of the investigation is expected to be released by the MGSS team at the end of August.
Upon completing the first phase, Professor McLaren together with his team will work to identify the presence of any acts of corruption carried out by the individuals involved in past administrations of AIBA. A number of loans and questionable business decisions were previously entered into. While AIBA’s financial integrity and continued solvency have now been addressed, here too there may be lessons to be learned.
Conlan gave his reaction to the news on social media on Monday
During Rio 2016, the Irish bantamweight Michael Conlan was one athlete to allege corruption after losing a controversial decision to the Russian Vladimir Nikitin. “I came for gold and I’ve been cheated. I’ll not do another Olympics. I would advise anybody not to compete for the Aiba,” Conlan said.
“At the end of the first round, it had been so easy, so comfortable, I wasn’t even out of breath. I said ‘I’ll win this easy’. But I was told I was down. I’ve been robbed of my Olympic dream.”