Virgets: IOC measures have pushed AIBA to the brink and I must leave
By Jonathan Rest in Lausanne
AIBA is on the verge of collapse because of the actions taking by the International Olympic Committee executive board, which were "clearly designed to bankrupt" boxing's governing body, executive director Tom Virgets has claimed.
In a letter sent to members of AIBA's executive committee, seen by Sportcal, Virgets said the organisation will be insolvent if IOC members derecognise the governing body at the session in Lausanne next week.
That is considered a formality after the IOC executive board last month confirmed boxing's place on the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but suspended AIBA, meaning the qualification events and the competition at the games will be run by a newly established taskforce.
While the IOC has said that AIBA could be reinstated after Tokyo 2020, Virgets indicated that will be too late.
Suspension means AIBA will miss out on its projected $17.5-million share of Tokyo 2020 commercial revenue, further adding to its financial woes (it has debts of around SFr17 million ($17 million).
Virgets revealed the federation has less than $400,000 in the bank and cannot afford to challenge any IOC ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. All but a handful of staff have been let go from the Lausanne headquarters, and Virgets confirmed he too would be leaving AIBA soon, calling it "the correct thing to do", after failing in his mandate to keep the organisation involved for Tokyo 2020.
AIBA is planning to hold an executive committee meeting next week, a day after its Tokyo 2020 fate is expected to be sealed.
In the letter, Virgets wrote: “In my opinion, the decisions made by the IOC were clearly designed to bankrupt AIBA. Every source of income that AIBA had going forward was taken away.”
He said the reduction in staff would make it "very difficult" for AIBA to operate, adding: "Considering the fact that the inquiry commission stated that AIBA was not financially fit enough to do this with its current staff, it will be very difficult to convince the IOC that AIBA can perform all of its functions with a significantly reduced staff. It will require a significantly large amount of volunteers. However, these volunteers will need to be individuals other than most of you, as the IOC will find many to be unacceptable going forward."
AIBA topped the agenda on day one of the IOC executive board meetings in Lausanne yesterday, but Kit McConnell, the IOC's sports director, said there were no detailed talks about AIBA’s financial and staffing issues.
The discussions instead related to the establishment of the boxing taskforce and the quotas and weight categories for Tokyo 2020.