(JAN 27) The AIBA Special
Investigation Committee (SIC), consisting of experts from its
Refereeing and Judging (R&J), Technical and Rules, as well as
Disciplinary Commissions, has concluded its investigation into
the practices and procedures of officials during the Rio 2016
Olympic Boxing Tournament. The SIC’s recommendations for
improvements to R&J structure for the Tokyo 2020 Cycle are
already being put in place.
The investigation ordered by AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu
after a small number of decisions at Rio 2016 came under
scrutiny and serious allegations were made against AIBA
officials, has been concluded. Starting in mid-September, the
full investigation took place in two phases across four months,
with over 50 interviews conducted during that time.
The key findings indicate that, due to a lack of proper
procedural norms, a concentration of decision-making power and
the assigning of roles assumed by former senior management that
had a detrimental impact on in-competition best practice. Whilst
the Special Investigation found no active interference in the
results, AIBA moved quickly to identify those involved and took
the necessary steps to ensure its officials will no longer
become scapegoats for close decisions which are an inherent
aspect of the sport.
“AIBA defends the integrity of its expert R&Js who operate in
difficult, subjective circumstances, but we have shown that we
are also not afraid of making difficult decisions for the good
of boxing. An unwelcome axis of influence and sole
decision-making had been created and used by former Senior
Management that led to a lack of due process being carried out.
We moved immediately to re-empower our commissions and use their
expertise in order to decentralise the decision-making and
re-establish our procedures.
Whilst there is no evidence that this had a direct influence on
results in Rio, if best practice is not followed 100% of the
time by our officials and R&Js, that is unacceptable. The SIC
have conducted a thorough investigation and many of their
recommendations, including the disbanding of the 5-star R&J
structure and placing control of the FOP back in the hands of
the Tournament Supervisor, have already been put into place.
These actions will ensure even greater consistency and
transparency in our officiating as we head into the new Olympic
Cycle.” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
Potentially damaging influences removed
The report shows that the actions AIBA has taken since the Rio
2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament, and the organisation’s current
positive steps, are justified. Following the removal of these
mechanisms that threatened the integrity of the organisation,
the SIC also found unprofessional relationships within AIBA had
created an atmosphere of collusion between senior management and
the Five-Star R&Js that undermined the organisation and had a
negative impact on its operating efficiency.
Recommendations already being implemented
The overriding goal of the SIC investigation, to provide
recommendations that will help create a reorganised structure
for R&Js and ensure the correct safeguards are in place, have
already been realised. The Five-star R&J system has been
disbanded with the unanimous agreement of the R&J Commission.
Improvements to the in-competition administration of officials
have already been trialled and approved for AOB tournaments in
2017 after being successfully trial run at the Youth World
Championships in St Petersburg in November 2016.
The R&J Draw Commission has been removed and an automated Swiss
Timing system will assign officials to matches, with all five
Judges’ scorecards now used to determine the winner of a bout.
Changes to the Field of Play will now give R&Js the best
possible environment in which to operate and be evaluated, while
the Executive Director, or any AIBA staff member, will no longer
have any role in the FOP. There is no evidence that the
reallocation of medal rankings is required for Rio 2016, but
AIBA will be researching the feasibility of processes for the
appeal of decisions in the future.
Education and training
In order to move forward, and to prevent AIBA becoming a
scapegoat for unpopular decisions in the future, a broad
education programme will be undertaken involving boxers,
coaches, officials and fans alike, to instil a greater
understanding of scoring and give a strong reminder of the
importance of sportsmanship, respect and fair play values. It is
essential that the entire boxing community is more in tune with
the parameters within which the R&Js work, in order to better
understand their decisions. The subjectivity of scoring is part
of what makes the sport unique, and the nature of the contest
means that strong opinions are formed by teams and fans, but
that should not impact negatively on the integrity of the
Reintegration of Rio 2016 officials
AIBA reiterates that while the decision to stand down all 36
R&Js that were officiating at Rio 2016 was necessary until the
SIC investigation had been concluded, as a preventive measure,
it was in no way an indication of their wrongdoing. The
reintegration process of those officials into the new-look R&J
structure will now begin on a case by case basis, and an
extensive series of courses and workshops is being implemented
to grow and enhance the pool of first-class officials around the
AIBA has taken important steps for the sake of boxing and is
determined to learn from the past in order to build positive,
enduring legacies for the sport. AIBA Ethics Commission Chair
has received the mandate to analyse recent issues and the
general organisation of the Association, with the objective to
propose operational and governance reforms to the President and
the Executive Committee. The organisation stands more united
than ever as witnessed in the last Extraordinary Congress held
in Montreux, but will continue to tackle any incident of
impropriety that dishonours it or the sport with the utmost
severity, and repeats its commitment to ensuring the values of
fair play and transparency are upheld at all times by the entire
AIBA Family, its staff and stakeholders.