Monday 22 October 2018

'Virtually impossible' to bribe judges

This is not the first time that the sport has been at the centre of claims of corruption on the eve on an Olympiad. Photo: iStock / Getty Images
This is not the first time that the sport has been at the centre of claims of corruption on the eve on an Olympiad. Photo: iStock / Getty Images

Bernard O'Neill

It is virtually impossible to bride judges if strict guidelines are followed, according to a top amateur boxing official.

Brendan Ó Conaire, a former president of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, is a member of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Referees and Judges Commission.

O Conaire was reacting to a report in The Guardian that unnamed senior officials have warned that bouts could be fixed at the Olympics and officials are able to manipulate the draw and judging.

The draw for boxing at Rio 2016 will be held at 3.0 tomorrow with the action starting on Saturday.

This is not the first time that the sport has been at the centre of claims of corruption on the eve on an Olympiad.

In the lead up to London 2012, it was alleged by the BBC that Azerbaijan had loaned millions to AIBA and had effectively bought medals. The claim was rejected by AIBA following an investigation.

Azerbaijan, a relatively strong boxing nation, won two bronze medals at London 2012 and finished in 15th spot in the medals table, 10 places behind Ireland.

Ó Conaire explained that the five judges that score a bout and the referee don't even know if they will be selected to adjudicate until shortly before the fight.

Moreover, none of the judges know until after the bout if their scores have been used. Five judges score amateur fights, but only three scores are used.

"Provided that the system is strictly followed it's virtually impossible to bribe a judge. Even if selected, the judge doesn't know that his scores will be used," said Ó Conaire.

"The judges and referee are picked less than 10 minutes before a bout and are randomly selected by a computer, not by an individual.

"If someone wanted to bribe a judge how would they know which judge to target? If the people who are making these allegations have evidence let them produce it."

Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, Brendan Irvine, David Oliver Joyce, Steven Donnelly, Michael Reilly and Joe Ward will represent Irish boxing in Rio.

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