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Boxing: Update on the crisis within AIBA

By Dr. Thilo Pachmann & Alexander Theiler[1] As reported on 8 August 2017 (see previous GSLTR website post of that date), the crisis within the AIBA (International Amateur Boxing Association) has severely deepened as members of the so-called Interim Management Committee (IMC) have applied to a Swiss Court, claiming that they should run the organisation until an extraordinary general assembly is expected to be held in October to decide President Ching-Kuo Wu's fate. In addition, the IMC demanded to block Wu's access to AIBA's funds, as he is blamed for financial mismanagement and for using the organisation's funds to pay his personal legal bills. At the peak of the crisis, AIBA's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, were closed for a week in July and even the Swiss police were called to intervene at the scene. According to an official AIBA statement and several news media reports, the Swiss Court has rejected the IMC's request for urgent provisional measures. Furthermore, the Court also rejected a separate request for urgent provisional measures by President Wu denying the legality of the constitution of the IMC. The court ruled in both cases that the requirement of extreme urgency was not met. The AIBA has stated that "this decision maintains the status quo and AIBA will therefore keep functioning in full accordance with its Statutes". Members of the IMC, on the other hand, have stated that the Court decision affirms the right for the IMC to exist as a legally recognised committee, which also operates according to AIBA's own statutes. Provisional measures are usually granted by Swiss Civil Courts if both a possible infringement and damage, which cannot easily be repaired, is rendered plausible to the Court by either party. To even have ex parte measures granted by the Court, meaning without the counterparty being heard, the additional requirement of extreme urgency must be demonstrated to the Court. In the present case, the requests of either party have obviously not been deemed as extremely urgent by the Court; therefore, a hearing will be held and a decision will be made by the Court without specific urgency. This hearing is scheduled to be held on 17 August 2017, when both parties and counsels will be heard, and a decision will be made by the Court. It is expected that this decision will govern the entangled situation within AIBA until the extraordinary general assembly will be held in October. The IMC is highly optimistic to be granted control over AIBA with this eventual Swiss Court verdict. In the latest development in this increasingly bitter struggle, criminal proceedings have been opened in Switzerland against Italy's Franco Falcinelli, head of the IMC and also AIBA Vice-President. AIBA alleges that a staff member was threatened by Falcinelli in the course of the dispute. More detailed information has not yet been given by either side. The allegations against Falcinelli, at least, have been dismissed by the IMC as "making simply no sense at all". These further developments make it more challenging for AIBA to host successful World Championships, which, as mentioned, are scheduled to be held in Hamburg, Germany, between 25 August and 2 September 2017. However, according to AIBA's official statement, they are "entirely focused on the next AIBA World Boxing Championships". It will be interesting to see how this fraught and bitter situation within AIBA further enfolds as a result of the pending Swiss Court decision!       [1] Dr. Thilo Pachmann and Alexander Theiler of Pachmann Attorneys at Law, Switzerland. They can be reached at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’ and ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’.

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