AIBA, the governing body for Olympic boxing, has received recommendations from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to improve its anti-doping programme. AIBA representatives met with WADA at the end of last year as part of a ‘Partnership to Quality’ programme. WADA subsequently issued a report to bring AIBA’s anti-doping programme up to international standard.

“We can confirm that an operational delegation from WADA met with AIBA’s anti-doping administrators over two days on 11-14 December 2015 as part of WADA’s Partnership to Quality Program. This program, which was initiated earlier in 2015 – the year of the coming into force of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code – goes above and beyond WADA’s daily support of International Federations (IFs) and other Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) and is intended to assist the participating IFs more closely in developing Code-compliant anti-doping programs,” a WADA spokesperson said. “Following this visit, as is the case with all visits of this program (a dozen to date), WADA provided AIBA with a report a few weeks later, which included in particular recommendations of improvements and enhancements of the IF anti-doping program in order for the IF to meet the Code and International Standards’ requirements.”

This will now be an ongoing process for AIBA to work with WADA to become code compliant. “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. AIBA has started working on the implementation of these recommendations since receiving WADA’s report and follow-up has been conducted with AIBA since the issuance of the report to assist AIBA in prioritizing the recommendations and providing necessary guidance,” the spokesperson continued. “If WADA considers that there is no or too little follow-up from an IF – or any ADO – in terms of implementation and/or insufficient practice of the 2015 Code, it can bring up the case for review at any time to its independent Compliance Review Committee, which can in turn make recommendations to WADA’s Foundation Board. This has not happened with AIBA to date.”

It does seem unlikely that boxing could be barred from the Olympic Games. “In terms of the Olympics, WADA does not have the jurisdiction or the power to take such decisions,” the spokesperson said but noted, “When a signatory to the Code is declared non-compliant by WADA’s Foundation Board following recommendation from WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee, WADA reports the decision and informs its stakeholders including the IOC – which has control over the Olympic Games – accordingly.”