Boxing

AIBA stands down all referees involved in the Rio Olympic Games

Tyrone man Michael Gallagher (left) is among the judges and referees to be sidelined
Andy Watters

IT APPEARS this particular magnificent seven won't be riding again.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has stood down all 36 referees and judges (R&Js) who officiated at Rio 2016 pending the completion of an investigation into judging at the Games. AIBA has also disbanded its five-star R&J programme. AIBA five-star rated officials, often referred to as ‘the Magnificent Seven’, are paid an annual salary of between $40,000 and $50,000 plus expenses by AIBA to officiate at top international tournaments.

The decision was taken following the completion of an AIBA Referees & Judges and Technical & Rules Commissions meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is not clear whether all members of the various commissions were informed off or attended the meeting in Lausanne.

The Rio Olympics were marred by poor officiating, not least being Michael Conlan’s highly controversial defeat to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarter-final. Fergal Carruth, CEO of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, confirmed last week that they had written to AIBA expressing concerns about judging at the Games.

Belfast-native Conlan, who has since turned pro, said after the Nikitin decision that he’ll never fight under an AIBA flag again and called the governing body for amateur boxing cheats. A number of referees and judges, including five-stars, were stood down in Rio after the Conlan versus Nikitin result and AIBA reassigned its executive director. It’s unclear whether Tyrone’s Michael Gallagher was one of the R&Js sanctioned in Rio. However, he, along with the 25 other bout-officials at the Games, have now been sidelined.

AIBA President CK Wu, who described Conlan’s reaction as unacceptable, admitted that the sport was under the spotlight for some of wrong reasons at the 31st Olympiad: “Boxing [at Rio 2016]  was in the spotlight for positive reasons, but occasionally also for the wrong ones," he said. 

"As an organisation, we have pulled together and I am extremely happy with the work that has been done this week." 

"The results of a specific R&J investigation, currently underway, will allow AIBA to fully assess what action needs to be taken. In the meantime, it has been decided that all 36 R&Js that were used at the Olympic Games will not officiate at any AIBA event until the investigation reaches its conclusion,”an AIBA statement read.

AIBA are also considering using five judges to score fights in future. Five judges currently score bouts but only three scores are used to determine results.

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