AIBA executive director Tom Virgets has hit back at critics of the governing body ©ITG

International Boxing Association (AIBA) executive director Tom Virgets has hit out at, what he claims is, a small group of members within the organisation "doing everything in their power" to deliberately undermine the governing body and its Confederations following the election of Gafur Rakhimov as President.

Virgets told insidethegames that the disgruntled group "act in the shadows" and "eat away at the foundation of our organisation" but claimed they have failed to gain the support of the AIBA membership because they lack the required leadership qualities.

The American did not directly mention who he was referring to but it seems likely the "rogue group" of Kazakhstani individuals and others who have actively lobbied against Rakhimov and AIBA since the election were the target of his comments.

An investigation was launched into the Kazakhstani faction, who had offered to organise the Olympic boxing competition at Tokyo 2020 and oversee the qualifying events amid the ongoing International Olympic Committee (IOC) inquiry into AIBA, by the Executive Committee earlier this month.

Other National Federations have publicly called for Rakhimov to stand down as AIBA President after the IOC warned his election put boxing's place on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020 in jeopardy.

Virgets' comments follow a fractious European Boxing Confederation General Assembly in Moscow where President Franco Falcinelli, also an AIBA vice-president, faced a threat of no confidence after several members accused him of breaching the continental body's statutes and said his handling of the meeting had been "shambolic".

They come despite Rakhimov, who remains on a United States Treasury Department sanctions list as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals", calling for unity and insisting it was "time to leave behind the politics" amid the IOC probe, which could lead to AIBA being stripped of the right to run the Olympic boxing competition.

EUBC President Franco Falcinelli chaired a fractious General Assembly in Moscow last week ©EUBC
EUBC President Franco Falcinelli chaired a fractious General Assembly in Moscow last week ©EUBC

"While we have one group of individuals who are working hard to hold the organisation to following best practices, there still remains a small group within the organisation who have not accepted the AIBA election, and who are dedicated to doing everything in their power to undermine AIBA and its confederations," Virgets told insidethegames. 

"They do not seek good governance or contribute to finding solutions. 

"They refuse to accept that a super majority elected the President and that democracy has spoken. 

"Instead, like termites, they operate within the shadows of the penumbra and eat away at the foundation of our organisation.

"Fortunately, they are a very small group, and while loud and critical of AIBA’s operations, they lack the necessary leadership qualities necessary to gain the support of the organisation.

"I look forward to seeing this small group of disgruntled members end their quest to take over AIBA and join us in fulfilling the AIBA President's call for a unified organisation."

Falcinelli had himself urged the AIBA electorate to back Serik Konakbayev, thought to be involved in the Kazakhstani group being investigated by the embattled governing body, over Rakhimov in the Presidential election.

The Italian was placed under temporary suspension for his conduct relating to the election but was still elected as a vice-president at the AIBA Congress in Moscow in November.

Virgets confirmed to insidethegames that Falcinelli had been warned but would face no further punishment and the case is now considered closed.