2020 Olympic organizers working for boxing at Games despite freeze

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said that while “official level contact” was halted by the International Olympic Committee’s decision, working-level contact with International Boxing Association would continue. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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2020 Olympic organizers working for boxing at Games despite freeze

  • “We will make efforts in preparation so that we have no delay in responding to the eventual decision which might come to implement the competition (of boxing)”
  • The IOC’s final decision on whether to include boxing in the 2020 program is not expected until next June

TOKYO: The organizers of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics said Saturday they would continue working to stage a boxing tournament at the games despite a freeze by the International Olympic Committee.
On Friday, the IOC said it was freezing preparations for boxing at the 2020 Games and launched a probe into the sport’s troubled governing body — the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
It said it wanted the sport included in 2020, but warned its inquiry could see boxing excluded.
On Saturday, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said that while “official level contact” was halted by the IOC’s decision, working-level contact with AIBA would continue.
“Working level contact is allowed, that’s our understanding. So we will liaise, we will keep our collaboration, coordination,” he told reporters after a meeting with the IOC’s executive board in Tokyo.
“We will make efforts in preparation so that we have no delay in responding to the eventual decision which might come to implement the competition (of boxing),” he added.
“Venue preparation will proceed accordingly.”
The IOC’s final decision on whether to include boxing in the 2020 program is not expected until next June, Muto said.
But he sought to reassure athletes that Tokyo would be ready if the IOC permitted a boxing tournament at the Games.
“Regarding the preparations, no worries, that’s what I want to say to the athletes,” he said.
The IOC says it has concerns about the “governance, ethics and financial management” of AIBA, which last month elected as president a controversial Uzbek businessman linked to organized crime by the US Treasury Department — a claim he denies.
Qualifiers for the 2020 boxing tournament have been put on hold, the only sport not to have its qualifiers proved and a step described as “very significant” and possibly unprecedented.
Relations between the IOC and AIBA took a dive at the 2016 Rio Olympics when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout fixing.
Ties were further battered earlier this month when AIBA elected Gafur Rakhimov as leader, who strenuously rejects the charges from the US Treasury Department.
AIBA made a last-ditch bid to persuade the IOC that it had cleaned up its act, issuing a flurry of statements lauding its own efforts on financing and judging.
But while the IOC has acknowledged progress on judging, refereeing and anti-doping, it said there were still a “whole range” of issues on governance.
Boxing has an ancient Olympic tradition and has featured at every modern games since 1904, expect the 1912 Games in Stockholm because Swedish law at the time banned the sport.


Qatar in talks to buy stake in Leeds United

Updated 26 May 2019
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Qatar in talks to buy stake in Leeds United

  • QSI’s chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year’s world athletics championships in Doha
  • Leeds United plays in the second tier of English professional football, the Championship, and will be Qatar Sports Investment’s (QSI) first venture into British football

DUBAI: Qatar is in talks to buy a stake in UK football club Leeds United, the Financial Times reported.

Leeds United plays in the second tier of English professional football, the Championship, and will be Qatar Sports Investment’s (QSI) first venture into British football. It currently controls France’s Paris Saint-Germain.

“Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice,” a person familiar with the talks told FT. “Qatar has been looking into the prospects of entering English Football for the past two years.”

QSI’s chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year’s world athletics championships in Doha, judicial sources said.

Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel BeIN Sports, has been under investigation since March in a probe of the bidding process for the 2017 and the 2019 world championships.

French prosecutors are looking specifically at two payments of $3.5 million in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company jointly owned by Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.

Diack’s father Lamine Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015 and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

As well as probing the world athletics championships the French investigation is also examining circumstances in which the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.

Prior to the decision to charge him, Al-Khelaifi had been questioned in March as “person of interest” in the case revolving around the 2011 payments by Oryx which were made at a time when Doha was seeking to host the 2017 world athletics championship and the 2020 Olympics.

Investigators were seeking to determine whether, in return for the payments, Lamine Diack used his influence to gain votes for Doha among IAAF members and also to obtain a date change for the competitions to avoid the heat of the Qatar summer.

(With AFP)