India has been stripped of the rights to host the 2021 men’s world boxing championship. Instead they have been awarded to Belgrade in Serbia. The decision was taken by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) because of the failure of the BFI (Boxing Federation of India) to pay the hosting fee.
A payment of approximately US $4 million was meant to be paid by December 2nd last year by the BIF, but this date was missed, although, in mitigation, they claimed that there was some confusion as to which account the funds should have been deposited.
Not only has the country lost the right to hold the championship, but they also have to pay a US $500,000 cancellation fee into the bargain.
The BFI believes that the AIBA have acted in haste, and there is an irony in the fact that the championships have now been given to Serbia instead.
That is because the AIBA wanted part of the hosting fee to be paid into a bank account in Serbia, a country which finds itself on the Grey List of FATF (Financial Action Task Force Countries). As a result, Indian banks do not normally allow funds to be transferred to Serbia, a fact that the BFI pointed out to AIBA at the time. However, AIBA failed to suggest an alternative.
It should also be noted that the AIBA is currently suspended by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) for financial mismanagement, which may raise further question marks about the legitimacy of the payment.
Nevertheless, the BFI are trying to find an amicable solution to the issue with the AIBA, which would see the cancellation fee waived, and a promise that the championships would be held in India in the near future.
BFI did host the women’s world championships in 2018, and have been awarded the Asian championship for both men and women later this year, providing that the health situation allows it to go ahead as planned.