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Boxing - CAS clears Konakbayev to run for AIBA presidency

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BERLIN (Reuters) – The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday upheld an appeal by hopeful Serik Konakbayev against his exclusion from next month’s vote to elect the new president of international boxing association AIBA.

AIBA has been beset by serious financial and governance problems which have put its spot at the 2020 Olympics in jeopardy with the International Olympic Committee telling it to fix the current problems by next month or face an Olympic exit.

CAS ordered AIBA to include Konakbayev, an AIBA vice-president who had been banned from running against the only candidate — interim president Gafur Rahimov — in the list of those standing for election at the next congress, on Nov. 2-3 in Moscow.

Konakbayev, a Kazakh, who also heads the Asian boxing confederation, had been told by the AIBA election committee at the time that he had not acquired the necessary 20 letters of support from federations.

CAS said the election committee had wrongly refused to consider some nominations of support for Konakbayev.

“Therefore, the Panel acknowledged that Serik Konakbayev reached the threshold of 20 nominations supporting his candidature for the AIBA Presidency within the relevant time limit,” it said in a statement.

“In conclusion, the CAS Panel came to the conclusion that the appeal should be upheld and that Serik Konakbayev should be allowed to participate in the election for the role of AIBA President.”

AIBA has been in turmoil for several years. Its former president Wu Ching-kuo was suspended in 2017 before stepping down over governance and finance issues and was briefly replaced by Franco Falcinelli before Uzbek businessman Rahimov became interim president in January.

Rahimov, however, is on the United States Department of the Treasury’s sanctions list “for providing material support” to a criminal organisation, according to the U.S. body.

Rahimov strongly denies the claim but the IOC has told AIBA it is not happy with the choice of the Uzbek at the helm of the organisation.

The IOC also warned AIBA in October that failure to settle the dispute by next month’s congress could result in the sport losing its Olympic spot at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Writing by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Richard Balmforth)

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