Peace at AIBA as Wu steps down and legal action withdrawn
Ching-Kuo Wu’s long tenure as president of AIBA, the international boxing federation, is over after the Taiwanese official today agreed to step down, saying the move was in “the best interests” of the governing body, which has been embroiled in bitter infighting in recent months.
Wu, also a member of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board, had been the head of the federation since 2006.
However, his position had become increasingly untenable after the AIBA executive committee this month unanimously backed, by a margin of 14-0, a suspension imposed pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings over several serious charges, including financial mismanagement.
Franco Falcinelli of Italy, who has been serving as interim AIBA president, will retain the role for the time being, and agreement has been reached to withdraw and terminate all procedures put before civil courts and the AIBA disciplinary commission.
Wu was unanimously suspended by the disciplinary commission in October, with Falcinelli, AIBA’s most senior vice-president, who had been leading the so-called Interim Management Committee, set up by a group of disgruntled executive committee members, assuming the responsibilities of president.
However, emphasising the détente reached, Falcinelli is to ask the executive committee to vote in favour of a recommendation that Wu be granted the title of AIBA honorary president, subject to ratification by the congress.
In a statement, Wu said he had decided to step down “for the sport I love and have dedicated my life to. I step down in the best interests of both AIBA and boxing, but I remain committed to ensure a smooth handover to the new leadership. I am thankful for the time I was allowed to serve our sport, AIBA and the boxing community.”
Falcinelli said: “I would like to thank Ching-Kuo Wu for his contribution to the sport of boxing and to AIBA over many years and we wish him all the best. Our focus is now on the future and we will concentrate on our core mission of promoting and developing our sport in collaboration with the 202 National Member Federations.”
AIBA is to proceed with an extraordinary congress with all its member federations in Dubai on 27 January, 2018 to consider proposed governance changes.
However, Wu’s resignation means there is no need for the planned no-confidence motion that was to have been submitted in the hope of removing him from office permanently.
The outgoing president was alleged to have racked up debts of SFr15 million ($15.2 million) on behalf of AIBA and, the disciplinary commission argued last month, “led AIBA to the verge of bankruptcy.”
It also claimed he had been “hiding the serious financial situation of the association from the public, the EC and national federations.”
The power struggle broke out in July following an AIBA executive committee meeting in Moscow, and continued on the sidelines of the subsequent World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
In his time at the head of AIBA, Wu has pioneered initiatives such as the World Series of Boxing involving teams of fighters based in countries around the world, but in recent years there have been clashes with bodies including the World Boxing Council over the involvement of professional boxers in the Olympic Games, and continuing controversy over judging, which again reared its head at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Wu has been a member of the IOC since 1988, and a member of the executive board since 2012.