AIBA Interim President Gafur Rakhimov has claimed that he is working closely with the IOC to ensure boxing remains on the Olympic programme ©AIBA

A proposal by Gafur Rakhimov that he he would step aside for a limited period as President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to avoid putting the sport's place on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 in jeopardy suffered a major setback here today when delegates effectively did not give him enough support for such a plan.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have made it clear that they will seriously consider boxing's position if Rakhimov, described as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals", if elected permanent President at the AIBA Congress here tomorrow, which he is expected to ahead of only rival, Kazakhstan's Serik Konakbayev.

Rakhimov had proposed stepping aside on a temporary basis of up to a year while the matter was sorted and allow him to effectively appoint a successor but he failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority for the plan. 

Under the proposal, Rakhimov would have been able to step aside as President for a period of up to one year and be replaced by a candidate nominated by the AIBA ruling Executive Committee.

Rakhimov, though, would have remained on the Executive Committee and retain full voting rights and whoever was appointed Interim President would have been widely seen as a puppet controlled by him.

But when the amendment to Article 39.3 was put to the Congress only 64 of the 102 voting delegates supported it - two short of the 66 Rakhimov needed for a two-thirds majority. 

Under the current statues, Rakhimov would still be able to take a year's absence but would be replaced by the "vice-president who has served the longest period".

Also, he would not be able retain a position on the AIBA Executive Committee and have a vote.  

Rakhimov, elected Interim President in January, had revealed his plan to delegates during his report on the opening day of the Congress. 

"You have probably heard that the IOC has raised some concerns about AIBA and the position of boxing in the Olympics," he told them. 

"I am happy to report to you that we are addressing all these concerns and are making excellent progress."

The AIBA Congress in Moscow will debate a proposal which would allow Gafur Rakhimov, far right, to step aside as President for up to year in the hope it will help save boxing's place on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 ©AIBA
The AIBA Congress in Moscow will debate a proposal which would allow Gafur Rakhimov, far right, to step aside as President for up to year in the hope it will help save boxing's place on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 ©AIBA

Rakhimov added: "We are addressing any issues that the IOC would have as a result of the election for leadership positions, including President, through new amendments to our statutes.

"This amendment, which you will vote on this afternoon, will put in place a system that will allow an elected President, whoever that may be, to step aside for a limited period of time should it be necessary."

 "We have agreed with the IOC, that we will be submitting a report by mid-November with all the decision made by this Congress. 

"And I am looking forward to submitting this report and including all the improvements that will be approved by you over the coming days.

"Then we will get everything in place for Olympic boxing in Tokyo, in Paris [2024], in LA [2028] and any other future Olympic host.

"Because Olympics and boxing belong together."

The IOC have repeatedly warned that they would have serious problems with the election of Rakhimov, who has so far failed in his attempts to get his name removed from a blacklist compiled by the United States Department of the Treasury which he has been on since 2012. 

The US Department of the Treasury claim Rakhimov is part of criminal organisation that includes citizens of the former republics of the Soviet Union known as Brothers' Circle and which has links to the heroin trade.

Rakhimov denies he has done anything illegal and his name was removed from Interpol's most wanted list in July. 

The proposal to be allowed to be elected President and then step aside was unlikely to be an acceptable compromise anyway to the IOC, who, instead of removing boxing from Tokyo 2020, could suspend AIBA if Rakhimov is elected permanent President and establish a rival governing body to run the sport. 

The election of Rakhimov would be a major problem for the IOC but they also remain concerned about other issues of governance, including financial management and refereeing and judging which overshadowed the boxing tournament at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.