Seeking reforms, IOC freezes $9M in fight funds

Boxing

August 21, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

The International Olympic Committee, concerned about the way matches are scored and officials are selected in boxing, has frozen about $9 million in payments due the International Boxing Association, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

A letter, signed July 9 by IOC president Jacques Rogge, says the funds will remain frozen until the boxing association, known as AIBA, provides a "clear timeline and planned actions."

At issue is $1.153 million remaining to be paid out from the 2001-to-2004 Olympic cycle and about $8 million for the 2005-to-2008 term.

The IOC ordered the freeze because of misgivings about judging in recent Games, and long-standing concerns about the management of Olympic-style boxing and AIBA under Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan, the federation's president since 1986.

Chowdhry, in an e-mail response Friday to questions posed by the Los Angeles Times about scoring and the selection of judges, did not address the freezing of funds. He said that AIBA was moving toward what proponents call an "open scoring" system allowing for a running tally visible around the arena during a bout - something the IOC has pushed for.

Chowdhry also said the process of selecting and assigning judges, a far more worrisome concern for the IOC, was under review.

He said plans were to introduce changes "step by step before the next Olympic Games," in 2008 in Beijing.

Key IOC officials remained skeptical. "We have the feeling not everything is right," said Gerhard Heiberg of Norway, a member of the IOC's executive board.

The matter, however, is not likely to result in the expulsion of widely popular Olympic boxing. The 2004 Games produced boxing medalists from North Korea, Syria and Azerbaijan.

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