Newsletter EUBC by President Franco Falcinelli – October 2020

11 November 2020 Featured

Dear Presidents and General Secretaries,

First of all, I hope that you and your families are doing well during this complicated period of COVID-19 pandemic.

I would like to encourage you to dedicate your careful reflection on what is going on in the international boxing movement.

Many managers, coaches, officials as well as athletes themselves are very worried about the future of our sport as AIBA, our institutional reference, is replacing Circus Barnum at the moment.

It had never happened in the history of our glorious International Federation to have 7 candidates in the race for presidency. I believe it is also a record in the entire history of Olympic sport.

Some people may stand for the democratic principles, where everyone has the right to become a candidate. But in this dramatic period, in which the survival of boxing as an Olympic sport is under threat, it is more than ever vitaly important to be focused on the principle of unity but not separation, on the principle of the right choice – “the right man in the right time ”- and not on personal ambitions and more or less legitimate electoral promises.

With seven candidates, AIBA’s next presidential election is promising to be the most uncertain in history. But, it will also be marked by a record number of countries excluded from the vote. No less than 57 National Federations out of a total of 200 affiliates, will not be able to participate in the Congress scheduled for December 12 – 13, 2020. In the last AIBA Executive Committee Meeting held online on November 6th has been decided that the first day of the Congress will be dedicated to elections of the new AIBA President, while December 13th to the approval of the Statutes.

In 2006, there was a total of 163 NFs participated in Congress and voting. In 2010, only 107 NFs participated and 145 NFs participated in 2014, while in 2018, it was also 145 NFs attended. Now in 2020, it will be 143 NFs. No one said nothing until this year. Most of these 57 NFs are the ones who never developed boxing and have never sent a single boxer to any event, etc ..

This situation shows that the leaderships of AIBA throughout many previous years did not give any sufficient efforts to assist the National Federations who were having difficulties to develop our sport.   

When there is the wind of change, the fool builds walls to protect himself, while the wise, the far-sighted begins to build windmills (Chinese proverb).

In any election, we must vote for a President who can build a reliable project, which raises new hopes, who has credibility, who has demonstrated his organizational and managerial capacity in other social and political sectors of his life.

President Ivo Ferriani, in the recent IBSF congress, said that “Flexibility” is the only thing that can help us to survive. For AIBA, in addition to Flexibility, there are two other emergencies: Education and Finance.

Today there is a single, unscrupulous ambition: to be “masters”, suggesting solutions to problems which sometimes have already caused irreversible damage.

It is easier to criticize what doesn’t work than to suggest a solution to a problem.

The true “masters” must first teach and then give suggestions in order to avoid mistakes. Only the incapable know how to criticize later. You have to do it first.

We have had great debates, but only to express our opinions and differences without solving certain problems of AIBA. In the debates in the Reform Commission, a presidential candidate insisted a lot on a “crucial” aspect for improving future “Governance”: 70 years the maximum age limit to be a sports manager. Evidently he knows little about the reality of the boxing world.

Usually the volunteers, who have dedicated a lot of time to the organizational activity of our sport, can do so precisely by virtue of their age, which is the retirement age that does not require gratification and offers total dedication. Since the statutes of the NFs must adapt to that of the AIBA, a lowering of the managerial or technical age to 70 would create a strong unease in the entire organization of the National Federations.

I do not make it a personal problem because I have already announced that this is my last term, but it is out of respect to all those who have voluntarily offered their precious collaboration to boxing in the elderly.

We must reflect and prevent boxing, one of the oldest and most prestigious sports of the Olympic movement, from being ridiculed by people without a soul, without sport culture, knowledge of the peculiarity of sport and without respect for millions of practitioners in 200 countries around the world.

Since AIBA was founded in 1946, we have had only three Europeans at the helm of our International Federation: Emile Grèmaux (FRA), Rudyard Russell (ENG) and Nikiforov Denisov (USSR). Since 1978, except Don F. Hull from USA, from 1986 with Anwar Chowdhry from Pakistan, Ching Kuo WU from Chinese Taipei, Gafur Rahimov from Uzbekistan, in recent 35 years, AIBA was led by the Presidents from only Asian continent and all of you are well aware of their performances.

Dear European friends, our continent has always been at the forefront in the organizational activity of major events and in the achievement of technical results at international and Olympic level, and therefore after 42 years, Europe finally has the opportunity to propose a candidate to become AIBA President.

Once again, we must support the candidate ethically reliable, with consolidated managerial skills and extensive boxing experience in order to use this unique opportunity.

I want to ask you for a gesture of humility and responsibility towards those who with a spirit of sacrifice and self-denial continue to work for a glorious future even in this very harsh time of pandemic. We must take care of the National Teams and boxers who hope to be able to fulfill their Olympic dream. Alongside the main protagonists of boxing there are millions of practitioners who step into the ring to try their hand at a sport that teaches loyalty, courage, respect of the rules and the opponent.

There are many authoritative journalists who have praised the deeds of our athletes. The social networks and the various forms of networks that today allow us to witness the performance of a “schoolboy” from thousands kilometers away, promoting the spread of a sport that boasts an exceptional number of practitioners like never before.

And we owe great respect to the millions of fans who have not forgotten the victories of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Teofilo Stevenson, Oleg Saitov, Vasily Lomachenko and our peerless champions who have written the history of Olympic sport.

I rely on their sensitivity, their love for boxing to avoid wrong choice, which might inevitably lead to crucial division that will produce dispersion of consensus and even incurable fractures.

We must elect a leader who is not a fruit of underground alliances, but is the expression of a popular will. I do trust in the wisdom of intelligent boxing people!  We must present only one united candidate to the December Election to have the President from our continent that will have the chance perform successfully for the improvement of AIBA and Boxing.

I want to close my appeal with a technical note on the Tokyo Olympic Games.

I want to thank the IOC “Boxing Task Force” who moved the Continental Tournaments and the World Olympic Qualification Championships for a couple of months. It is an excellent decision that allows our athletes to recover from the delays and difficulties in technical preparation.

In the meantime, in Tokyo, the organizers of the Olympic Games have promoted an international competition in order to verify in real conditions the application of some health measures foreseen in 2021. The result was encouraging, but there were only 30 athletes and 2000 spectators and the event lasted only one day!

International Competitions:

With regard to the international boxing activity that took place in October, I would like to thank the National Federations of Croatia, Serbia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Belarus and France who, despite the numerous problems related to the pandemic situation, continue to organize tournaments, giving our boxers the possibility of growth, experience and visibility.

As you know, EUBC is preparing to have two European Championships this month. The Youth European Championships, which will take place from today to November 23 in Budva, Montenegro will be followed by the Junior European Championships from November 23 to December 3 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Europe is ready to move forward despite the many restrictions of this historical period and we have tried to adopt all possible extraordinary health measures so that the European Championships take place in maximum safety for all participants. Unfortunately, many national teams were unable to confirm their participation, but we hope that the emergency situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic can end soon and all the National Federations will be able to return to activity both nationally and internationally. I take this opportunity to invite all members of the championships delegations to strictly follow health measures and wish all the athletes good luck for a great performance in the events.

Fernando Atzori

Before concluding this Newsletter, I want to pay homage and commemorate the memory of a great Italian champion, Fernando Atzori, gold medalist in flyweight in Tokyo 1964 who prematurely passed away yesterday.

Thank you very much for your sensible support.

Sincerely yours,

Franco Falcinelli

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