CHENNAI: After getting elected as the president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Umar Kremlev said he was committed to “rebuilding the credibility and trust that AIBA once had in the minds of sportspeople worldwide and that includes, of course, restoring AIBA’s Olympic status”. One of his initiatives was to constitute an investigation into those infamous bouts during the 2016 Olympics.
Richard McLaren, CEO of McLaren Global Sports Solutions, led the investigation and made some scathing allegations against previous top AIBA officials and its functioning. The McLaren Independent Investigation Report has all the ingredients to make a decent Hollywood thriller. From monetary bribing, intimidation, corrupt ringleaders, secret meetings, expensive gifts to manipulations, the report exposes the nasty underbelly of amateur boxing.
The report pointed out that there could be at least 11 bouts that could have been manipulated. “A comprehensive study of the bouts at Rio indicates approximately nine bouts that where suspicious beyond the two raised in the media at the time. It may be necessary to further examine those bouts for which no definitive conclusion can be made at this time,” said the Investigation.
It doesn’t limit to just manipulation by referee and judges, the report alleged that there are indications that money was involved too and the amount was in six figures. “Bouts were manipulated for money, perceived benefit of AIBA, or to thank National Federations and their Olympic committees, and, on occasion, hosts of competitions for their financial support and political backing,” the report said.
Former president CK Wu and his executive director apparently played a part too. According to McLaren: “the President CK Wu bears ultimate responsibility for the failures of officiating at Rio and the qualifying events. He was supported by his Executive Director at Rio who were key actors in organising the field of play to allow the manipulation to flourish.”
What seems even more worrying is the fact that the report points fingers at 2012 London Olympics as well. “A system for the manipulation of bouts by officials existed at Rio. The seeds of this were sown years before starting from at least the Olympic Games of the twenty-first century through the events around 2011 (to be discussed in next Stage) and London 2012,” said the report.
Apparently, the qualifying tournaments for participating in the Rio Games were the practice grounds for “corruption and manipulation of bouts”. The report made some jaw-dropping claims of intimidation. According to a witness part of the investigation, a five-star judge entered his room drunk to warn him during a European meet in Bulgaria.
“So they had keys to my room and they came in and basically drunk told me that if I didn’t start doing the job that I was hired to do that things wouldn’t work out very well for me...” revealed a witness during the investigation. What was worse is that his complaint to the Executive Committee went unheard and “there was no investigation”.
As per the report, Rio was the pinnacle. “Helmut Ranze, the Supervisor at the Rio Games, reported that all the appointments for Rio were “top secret”, and kept even from him. This secrecy enabled the Executive Director (“ED”) to make his selections a ‘fait accompli’, without any opportunity for discussions,” said the report.