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‘Great crimes’: AIBA president Kremlev commissions McLaren report into boxing corruption at Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond

‘Great crimes’: AIBA president Kremlev commissions McLaren report into boxing corruption at Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond
International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Umar Kremlev has enlisted Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren to independently investigate “great crimes” of corruption and manipulation of results by previous association heads.

At a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, close to the AIBA's headquarters, former Russian Boxing Federation head Kremlev pledged to rid the sport of “huge mistakes” which have allowed for the “shattering of a boxer’s destiny” by commissioning an independent probe headed by McLaren to identify and hold to account those found guilty of past misconduct.

McLaren, who is known for being commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) to head an investigation into alleged state-sponsored Russian doping, will now focus on uncovering those responsible for judging irregularities at the Rio 2016 Olympic boxing – from which, incidentally, Russia was suspended as a result of his WADA report.

“First, I would like to start off by thanking the president for inviting me to do this particular project. From the outset, I would like to stress that I would not have taken the project on unless I was granted full independence for our investigation,” McLaren, who will be handling the investigation through McLaren Global Sports Solutions (MGSS), said.

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“Let me be very clear: our work will not be contrasted by AIBA officials. MGSS and its investigation team is fully independent. Our track record in other matters demonstrates that. And we also have the right, in this investigation, to publish our work in full.

“Our points of reference are broad and cover much more than just the refereeing and judging in Rio. We are aware that there is a long history in the lead up to Rio. That history will not be overlooked in our investigation.”

In 2019, AIBA was relieved of the right to host boxing at Tokyo 2020 this summer due to past financial irregularities – the result of more than a decade of suspected mismanagement of AIBA funds by previous association heads.

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McLaren has vowed to identify those responsible in a two-stage investigation probing individuals from 2006 to the present day, establishing acts of corruption in elections and the mismanagement of AIBA funds, with action to be recommended to the association later on in the year. 

The professor said he hopes to “console” athletes as a result of the investigation into the manipulation of results and bring “peace of mind” that the standard of refereeing will be better in future – something which previous, heavily-criticized investigations by boxing’s former governing body had failed to provide.

“I am also fully aware that previous investigations may not have been fully independent. And I can confirm to all of you that even though we have been working on this project since June 10, we have received to date excellent cooperation with AIBA, including access to their electronic information database,” he said.

“What’s our job? It’s to uncover AIBA and to find out what the ‘truth’ is. And help it to engage in the difficult process of self-reform. The outcome of this report will be that boxers who participate in boxing, going forward, can be assured that their results will be fairly refereed and judged.”

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