Boxing governing body AIBA guarantees fair play, reforms

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The International Boxing Association (AIBA) revealed major developments on Monday in its drive to reform with independent governance and financial audit, after announcing an investigation into refereeing and judging two weeks ago.

The association appointed Ulrich Haas as independent governance expert and confirmed that an independent financial audit would be conducted. The announcement was made by AIBA President Umar Kremlev at a press conference here in Lausanne.

Haas, currently leading the governance reform of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), will chair an independent group comprising legal and governance experts.

The group will review AIBA's current governance structures, assess these structures against international practice and issue recommendations for further improvement.

Meanwhile, the AIBA is in the process of finalizing an agreement with a major accounting firm to conduct an independent full-scope audit of the federation's finances.

Kremlev said that the association had secured financial stability with the help of sponsorship and greater commercial support.

"AIBA is working on becoming a welcoming, strong and stable home for boxers around the world." said Kremlev. "We are delivering that boxers can be sure of their future, fair judging and receiving a financial reward for their fights."

On June 14, the AIBA retained McLaren Global Sport Solution (MGSS), led by sports lawyer Richard McLaren, to conduct a two-phase independent investigation, starting with the refereeing and judging of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games boxing tournament.

All judges and referees from Rio had been banned for the Tokyo Olympics by the IOC after controversial decisions were made during that tournament. The McLaren report on the first stage is expected to be released at the end of August.

McLaren, who joined the press conference by video call, explained the mandate of his investigation and encouraged whistleblowers to contact his investigation group.

AIBA secretary general and two-time AIBA world champion Istvan Kovacs said the association is also working on improvements such as increasing transparency and making more information about policies publicly available.

"Looking at how we can improve sporting integrity, we will not hesitate to make any changes needed to give boxers the sport they deserve," said Kovacs. 

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