Europe’s top boxing official warned after power struggle
MOSCOW (AP) — Europe’s top boxing official received a formal warning in a case which highlighted the sport’s power struggles, the International Boxing Association said Saturday.
Tom Virgets, the executive director of AIBA, told The Associated Press that European Boxing Confederation president Franco Falcinelli was given the warning last month.
The Italian is a leading power-broker in the troubled world of amateur boxing but was suspended last year after a rift with Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov, who was elected AIBA president in November. Falcinelli was provisionally reinstated later that month. In an AIBA statement accompanying that ruling, he said he would now back Rakhimov and praised his “strong commitment.”
While Falcinelli was suspended, he was re-elected as an AIBA vice-president despite being barred from entering the conference hall. Virgets said Falcinelli’s alleged misconduct was not considered serious enough to require a ban.
Boxing’s Olympic future remains in jeopardy due to a standoff between AIBA and the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC has objected to Rakhimov’s election because the U.S. Treasury Department has alleged Rakhimov is a heroin trafficker linked to organized crime and placed him under sanctions. Rakhimov denies the allegations.
Preparations for the 2020 Olympic tournament have been frozen due to the dispute, leaving boxers unsure of when and how they can qualify.
At a European Boxing Confederation conference this week attended by Rakhimov and Falcinelli, Rakhimov supporters were elected to several key positions, with a vice-presidency for Russia’s Umar Kremlyov.