The executive board of the International Olympic Committee on Sunday made a not-so-veiled threat that boxing, part of every Olympics except one since 1904, could be excluded from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo because of leadership and ethical concerns.

“We are extremely worried about the governance in AIBA,” IOC president Thomas Bach said referring to the International Boxing Association, the governing body of amateur boxing.

Bach was speaking on several topics after a regularly scheduled executive board meeting here in advance of the Winter Olympics. Opening ceremonies are Friday.

A statement from the executive board listed several areas of concern when it comes to boxing, “particularly in the areas of governance, financial matters, anti-doping, judging and refereeing.” The statement said “specific requirements” need to be met by AIBA and announced that an investigation is opening into AIBA by the IOC ethics and compliance officer.

Bach said there “is still no real clarity of the finances” and that the IOC “cannot see a real robust anti-doping program in AIBA.” All contacts between the IOC and the association are frozen, and financial payments to AIBA are suspended. The IOC wants a report by April 30 from AIBA on what progress is being made.

It was clear from the final point in the statement that Bach called “last but not least,” how serious the IOC is taking these problems: “The IOC reserves the right to review the inclusion of boxing on the programme of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

Azerbaijan Lorenzo Sotomayor Collazo [Rio 2016]
Azerbaijan Lorenzo Sotomayor Collazo [Rio 2016]
Still, it is not clear whether the IOC would actually follow through on removing the sport.

Sunday’s statement comes after the executive board basically rejected a report it requested from AIBA in December after leveling sanctions and criticism on the governing body.

Former AIBA president CK Wu stepped down in November amid allegations of financial mismanagement, according to The Guardian, and was replaced by Franco Falcinelli on an interim basic until the group met in late January. At that time, a vice president, Gafur Rakhimov, was made interim president, which raised even more concerns within the IOC.

According to The Guardian, Rakhimov of Uzbekistan, has been identified by the U.S. treasury department as having ties to organized crime and as “an important person involved in the heroin trade.”

Without naming Rakhimov, Bach said there are “issues surrounding to say, diplomatically, the new interim president of AIBA.”

Asked if he is concerned that bouts at the Rio Olympics could have been fixed, Bach said the IOC is “still looking into this issue.”

“We have been on this case of the refereeing in Rio,” he said. “We at the time received a report from a committee having been established by AIBA which was dismissing these concerns, but from the fact that refereeing is a part of the decision we already took in December … and that we were requesting more information, you can conclude that we are still looking into this issue. We want to have a satisfying explanation that the results which were presented to us by this AIBA committee does really reflect the reality.”

Source: Thomas O’Toole|| USA Today