AIBA Commissions Investigation into Possible Olympic Match-Fixing

Match-fixing is a widespread problem in sports, and now the International Boxing Association is stepping in to investigate fraud in its midst.

AIBA Hires McLaren to Probe Corrupt Practices Allegations 

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is looking into potential fraud related to match-fixing and corruption during the 2016 Olympic Games. The investigation comes only a month before the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo and has put Richard McLaren, the investigator behind the Russian doping scandal, on the job. 

McLaren gave a statement assuring that his team will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations of fraud and manipulation of results in any way. Should any people be found responsible, they would face disciplinary action from the relevant authorities.

The Rio Olympics have been a fraught time for the sport and organization. Irish fighter Michael Conlan was fined for disrespecting a judge following his defeat to Vladimir Nikitin, a Russian bronze medalist. The Olympics has already issued a suspension to AIBA as a legitimate hosting organization for the upcoming games, and none of the judges or referees who were allowed to participate in the 2016 event will be able to attend in any capacity as a result.

McLaren will not focus on just fighters but also explore the possibility of high-level corruption, which is usually the case when it concerns investigations placed by governing bodies. AIBA has faced mounting criticism regarding its existing partnerships, which are often ill-defined and raise suspicion among observers, ESPN reported. The organization, which is principally focused on amateur events, has not had much luck progressing to professional boxing either. 

Match-Fixing Across All Sports

The sport to have been truly impacted by match-fixing is soccer. Globally, the world’s most popular game has faced numerous challenges, from making sure that all stakeholders are working together to eradicate fraud to educating players on the dangers of participating in such criminal activities in any capacity. 

Sportradar, one of the leading data companies, has presented a united front in order to help sports governing bodies to act swiftly and home in on any aberrations in the data that are commonly associated with underhand activities.

Even when individuals seem to be in the wrong, this may still endanger an entire team, as was the case of Rudgear Scerri, whose team, Attard FC, had to suffer as a result. Outside of soccer, measures have been equally unapologetic and any individual caught in clandestine activities has been suspended.

ITIA handed down a 10-year ban to Roman Khassanov for allegations dating back to 2014 and 2018 and effectively ending his career. If Khassanov’s situation is any indication, match-fixing and fraud are always caught up with even if watchdogs need years to get to you.

McLaren’s probe into AIBA’s possibly underhand practices, or in the very least those of its members, is a red flag, but until the investigation is complete, we would not be able to tell who is at fault. It may take a while to find something untoward, but the Olympics are in a month. 

The fact that AIBA reached out to McLaren to get to the bottom of the story is encouraging for the integrity of sports, which should be upheld by sporting bodies first and anyone else after. 

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