In order to bring the sport back on track all stakeholders must join hands and work together
Pakistan’s boxing was hit by a major controversy when the world boxing governing body (AIBA) a few days ago rejected the January 24 elections of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF).
This controversy has damaged the whole environment of the sport in which the nation has been struggling in the international circuit for so many years.
AIBA asked both the PBF chief Khalid Mehmood and his close rival Jehangir Riaz to nominate two members jointly for the ad hoc commission within 15 days. The deadline expires on April 2.
The PBF has also been advised by AIBA to hold fresh elections within three months. This is a serious issue and needs to be tackled judiciously by the PBF chief Khalid Mehmood, who also happens to be the secretary of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).
The development also shows how strong links the CEO of Green Hill Group of Companies Jahangir Riaz has in AIBA.
The PBF has decided to contest the matter at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and the IOC. The federation must defend itself and its elections. But one thing I would like to mention here is that Pakistan’s boxing has already suffered a lot. In order to bring the sport back on the right track all true stakeholders of the sport must join hands and work together for the development of boxing. Effort should be made to resolve the issues through dialogue.
It gives me immense pain when I recall our glorious past. The game has lost its gloss. It has no nursery and a huge effort is needed to once again build the confidence of youth to come to boxing. I know several persons who had been playing instrumental roles in boxing development for years. They said goodbye to the sport because they say they cannot survive in the environment.
We have the example of football. Football stakeholders are not on the same page which has given FIFA and AFC the opportunity to interfere in our affairs. We should set democratic examples and learn how to take along all the stakeholders.
Here I want to reproduce the AIBA letter which the world body wrote to Khalid and Jehangir.
“I contact you regarding the elections in the Pakistan Boxing Federation held on January 24, 2021. On this issue AIBA have carefully examined all relevant information provided from the side of Mr Muhammad Khalid Mahmood in his correspondence Ref. no. PBF027/GCM/125 as of February 03, 2021 along with attached annexes, as well as the relevant information provided from the side of Mr Muhammad Jahangir Riaz in his correspondence as of February 02, 2021 along with attached annexes,” the letter said.
“Based on the information available to AIBA, on January 24, 2021, there were two different meetings of the General Council consisted of two different groups allegedly representing members of the federation. As a result of these meetings, two different groups of the PBF officials were elected, in particular in one group Muhammad Khalid Mahmood was elected as President, whereas Muhammad Jahangir Riaz was elected as President in the second group,” AIBA letter said.
“Moreover, both groups consider themselves as an eligible administration of the PBF and submit their applications to participate in the AIBA competitions. It appears that two boxing federations de facto exist and operate in Pakistan. However, according to Article 7.2 of the AIBA Constitution, ‘[t]here may only be one National Federation from any one country’. Based on the documents provided by the parties, AIBA has noticed the schedule of the main significant events within the elections: the date of the elections was communicated by the PBF on January 02, 2021; the deadline to nominate the candidates was set on January 17, 2021; a notification of rejected candidates was made on January 20, 2021; an appeal from rejected candidates had to be submitted on January 20, 2021; elections were held on January 22, 2021. These time frames of the electoral process do not allow to conclude that the elections were conducted in accordance with generally recognized democratic and good governance principles. In particular, there was reasonably not enough time for the members to nominate candidates and for the candidates to appeal against rejection of their registration, which actually could lead to the absence of alternative candidates at the elections.
“In addition, AIBA has noticed an administrative barrier in the PBF to nominate the candidates for the elections, e.g., in article XIV (6) it is stipulated that ‘office bearers shall be elected from amongst the authorized representative of member units or the other persons eligible to attend the General Council Meeting’.
On this basis some candidates were not allowed to participate in the elections because they were not nominated by any PBF member to represent in the General Council meeting. AIBA believes this regulatory norm is excessive because it clearly restricts the right of the PBF members to nominate candidates from those who have not participated in the General Council Meeting as delegates. This restriction also contradicts democratic principles of the elections. Considering the above, prima facie, PBF is found in breach of article 11.1 (e) of the AIBA Constitution, according to which each National Federation is obliged to ‘democratically elect or appoint its officers and executive body in accordance with its constitution and generally recognised democratic and good governance principles’.
“Due to the mentioned circumstances AIBA do not recognise both elections in the PBF which were held on January 24, 2021. Therefore, AIBA considers there are no valid governing bodies at the PBF, including the President and the Executive Committee. Hereby AIBA respectfully requests the PBF to hold new elections under the control of AIBA and with the participation of an AIBA observer within 3 (three) months upon receipt of this correspondence, otherwise, a notice of serious breach of the AIBA Constitution committed by the PBF will be submitted to the Board, in result of which the Board will be entitled to apply suspension from membership in accordance with article 13 of the AIBA Constitution.
“AIBA offers to establish an ad hoc commission of the PBF with the mandate to hold new elections of the governing bodies, and both parties (i.e. a party of Mr Muhammad Khalid Mahmood and a party of Mr Muhammad Jahangir Riaz) hereby are kindly requested jointly nominate two members of this ad hoc commission within 15 days upon receipt of this correspondence, whereas the chair will be appointed by AIBA. Should the parties fail to nominate jointly two members to the ad hoc commission, AIBA will do it without further consultations with the parties. Please note that the members of the ad hoc commission shall not participate in the new elections. Any issues related to the participation of the Pakistan boxers in the AIBA competitions will be decided by the AIBA Competitions Committee.”