The IOC Boxing Taskforce has announced that no referees or judges involved in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 will be eligible to participate in either qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Games or in Olympic competition itself.
The news came as the organisation confirmed the technical and competition rules for the Olympic boxing and qualifying events would follow existing International Boxing Association (AIBA) rules, with added measures aimed at improving transparency around judging.
The IOC Boxing Taskforce says it has received the support of the boxing's athlete ambassadors, and has emphasised transparency in the implementation of its new rules, confirming that the judges’ scores of all rounds will now be displayed at the end of each round.
PwC will oversee the selection process for all referees and judges, while the IOC also states that this will include “extensive independent background checks of each individual.”
Morinari Watanabe, Chair of the IOC Boxing Task Force, said: “The main objective of the IOC Boxing Task Force is to ensure the completion of the mission of delivering events, while putting the boxers first, and with transparent and credible sporting results and fair play.”
“It is only fair to the boxers not to change the fundamental competition rules so close to the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic competition in Tokyo. The IOC Boxing Task Force has therefore focused on the full review of the rules enforced by AIBA in the current year of 2019, limiting changes which impact on boxers while increasing transparency by displaying the scoring and in the selection process for referees and judges.”
Australian boxer and Athlete Ambassador Shelley Watts, a 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Rio 2016 Olympian, said: “The IOC Boxing Task Force amendments to the AIBA Rules will have a positive impact on the conduct of Olympic Boxing Qualifying Events and at Tokyo 2020, as they focus on key areas such as clarity, transparency and integrity. These amendments are the result of an inclusive decisional process that took into consideration the athletes’ voice: we made sure that changes will not impact the dynamics of the current practice of the sport, while improving the standard of the competitions.”
Boxing at the 2016 Games was marred by controversial decision and several judges were sent home from the tournament. A 2017 investigation by AIBA found no evidence of interference in results. In June, AIBA was stripped of Olympic recognition after 2016, meaning that it could no longer have any involvement with Olympic boxing. As such, the IOC Olympic Boxing Taskforce was created in its place.