Interview: world boxing chief expects to clean the sport as investigations and reforms go on
By sportswriters Liu Yang, Chen Junxia and Nawaz Shah
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Umar Kremlev is expecting that an investigation into the referees can help clean the sport and complete the governance reforms by the end of this year.
Kremlev told Xinhua in a recent interview that he was looking forward to seeing the results of the independent investigations on Rio Olympics boxing referees soon in August and he is hoping the structural reforms of the association to be completed by the end of 2021.
The AIBA retained McLaren Global Sport Solution (MGSS), led by sports lawyer Richard McLaren, to conduct a two-phase investigation, starting with the refereeing and judging of the Rio Olympics.
All the judges and referees from Rio had been banned for the Tokyo Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the controversial decisions during the games. The McLaren report on the first stage is expected to be released at the end of August.
"We are reviewing this, we are learning lessons, we are making up a list of mistakes that have been made, and a list of what needs to be done," said the Russian ex-boxer, "The whole system needs to be changed. The mindset, the way referees think needs to be changed."
"We are going to educate a new generation of referees. No more corrupt referees are going to be allowed to judge, and they are going to have to take and pass some tests to make sure they are fair and not corrupt," said the 38-year-old president.
Kremlev had repeated this viewpoint on many occasions, "if the judges cannot act justice and fairness, it'll be a major crime for athletes and it'll ruin their career. It cannot be allowed to happen again."
Kremlev talked about how sports officials need a mindset change. "We need to understand that neither me, nor others, are here to manage, to run, to order, to command athletes. We are here to support them and assist them in any way possible."
The association also introduced an independent governance expert group to guide the reforms and confirmed that an independent financial audit would be conducted.
Taking the AIBA office chair for half a year, Kremlev put fair play and integrity on top consideration. His goal is to make AIBA one of the most efficient associations worldwide and return to the Olympics family.
"If we are successful, if we do stick to this promise, there will be no reasons for the IOC not to incorporate with our organization," said Kremlev, who refused to comment on the IOC's decision.
He said the association's bad reputation belongs to the past and it won't be a problem anymore. However, he refused to forget about the past. "We must remember why those bad things happen and know who did the wrong things."
According to Kremlev, the financial debt is solved; what's more, AIBA is currently able to assist national federations.
"Nearly seven million dollars has been allocated to help national federations. We are enabling our athletes to earn money. Our continental tournaments also have prizes and we are planning to increase the amounts," said Kremlev.
In the eyes of AIBA's president, China is one of the biggest boxing markets. He has kept contact with China's boxing association and planned to visit China.
"Since the corona pandemic is going on around the globe, travel is not possible now. But I am pretty sure that it's going to happen soon. I will be able to go and talk to my colleagues in China."
"There are a whole line of companies that are interested in investing or supporting Boxing, in sponsoring AIBA. They have a lot to offer, a lot to show. China has a lot to show and is a power in boxing." Enditem[ Editor: SRQ ]