Wednesday 13 December 2017

Boxing faces Olympics ban after AIBA failed to conduct any out-of-competition tests in 2015

Ireland's Katie Taylor
Ireland's Katie Taylor

Ben Rumsby

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) carried out no out-of-competition drugs tests in the whole of last year and only one the year before that, it has emerged.

The shocking figures put the AIBA in danger of being declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code and the entire sport – including Ireland's London 2012 medallists Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Katie Taylor – of being banned from the Olympics as a result.

Out-of-competition testing carried out by AIBA since London 2012 was branded “almost non-existent” in a secret report by Wada following a visit to its headquarters last December.

The report said AIBA’s anti-doping programme had fallen “considerably short” of requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code.

The one out-of-competition test it conducted in 2014 and 2015 was the lowest number of all of the 28 summer Olympic sports.

Wada has confirmed AIBA was one of around a dozen international federations with which it was working in order to ensure compliance with its code, a more demanding version of which came into force at the beginning of last year.

It refused to identify the other federations on its ‘Partnership to Quality Program’ or reveal their testing figures from last year, saying they were still being finalised.

Its 2014 figures, however, indicate an issue with combat sports in general, with just one out-of-competition test carried out by the World Taekwondo Federation and six by the International Judo Federation that year.

A Wada spokeswoman said: “The focus of the Partnership to Quality Program is to identify areas of improvement and to support the IF in addressing them. This is a dynamic process, which includes a two-day visit as a starting point, but also involves regular follow-up contacts to ensure that the recommendations made by the Wada team are put into practice by the IF.

“If Wada considers that there is no or too little follow-up from an IF – or any ADO [anti-doping organisation] – in terms of implementation and/or insufficient practice of the 2015 code, it can the case up for review at any time to its independent compliance review committee, which can in turn make recommendations to Wada’s foundation board regarding compliance. This is not the case with AIBA to date.”

Wada refused to reveal the number of out-of-competition tests AIBA had carried out to date this year, while the federation failed to respond to repeated requests for the same information.

It did, however, say in a statement: “Anti-doping is of the utmost important for AIBA and there is no compromise on this issue.

“The review with Wada was undertaken as part of this policy and we have been signatories of the Wada code since 2003.

“Concerning testing procedures, since July 2015 it has been decided that AIBA will be conducting out-of-competition testing, mostly towards athletes not already under the regime of their NF/Nado [national federation/National Anti-Doping Organisation]

“It is worth underlining that, whilst it is an AIBA duty to ensure a true anti-doping policy is carried out, at the national level, extensive testing is already being undertaken.”

The Irish Sports Council carried out 30 out-of-competition on Irish boxers in 2015, according to figures released in their anti-doping review for last year.

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