Law change

GOVERNMENT has assured the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) that it would amend the Boxing Decree of 2008 to ensure amateur boxing in the country is recognised by the international governing body.

Earlier this week, FASANOC released a statement in which it asked the Government to amend the decree that would eventually allow boxers to compete overseas including the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea next year.

FASANOC president Reg Sanday said the International Boxing Association (AIBA), that governs the sport of amateur boxing world wide, did not recognise the Fiji Boxing Commission’s control over amateur boxing in Fiji.

He said the AIBA wanted the sport to be self-governing and self-regulating in keeping with the internationally recognised principle of the autonomy of sport.

Yesterday, Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou confirmed to Times Sports that there would be a meeting between the Government and the Fiji Boxing Commission today to resolve the issue.

Tuitubou said he had talked to FASANOC executive board member Manasa Baravilala on the issue.

“I have told them to continue with all the processes as we have the boxing commission meeting on Monday,” Tuitubou said.

“We have already discussed the boxing decree with the Solicitor General (SG) and by Monday (tomorrow), we will come up with amicable solution.

“The decree was put there just to protect boxing but I have already told them that we have been talking with SG about the separation of amateur and professional (boxing) and that will be no problem.”

Sanday in the statement said that AIBA only recognised the Fiji Boxing Association headed by long serving referee, Wailena Vugakoto that was dissolved by the Fiji Boxing Commission in July 2012.

“The action taken by the Boxing Commission at that time resulted in the isolation of Fiji amateur boxing from overseas competition that continues until today,” Sanday said.

Sanday said a constitution for a new body to run amateur boxing had been agreed to by all stakeholders, including AIBA and the Fiji Boxing Commission.

He added once the decree was amended, a meeting would be called of stakeholders and a new set of officials would be elected to run a new (amateur) association.

“The priority is to ensure Fiji boxers are able to compete at next year’s Pacific Games. But time is running out,” Sanday said.

“FASANOC has entered boxing for the Pacific Games, but we are worried that the sport has missed a number of deadlines including the payment of team levies, submission of preparation plans and the naming of team officials.

“We in FASANOC are eyeing nervously the next deadline in a fortnight’s time on January 4, 2015 that will see FASANOC fined US$2000 (F$4004) if any of Fiji’s nominated sports, including boxing, withdraws from the Games for any reason.”

Sanday also said boxing at the Pacific Games would be run by AIBA and a lot of work would be needed to get our boxers, trainers, referees, judges and medical personnel upskilled in the new AIBA rules.

“Right now if Fiji amateur boxers went overseas none of the local officials would be allowed to escort their boxers to the ring as none of them is certified by AIBA,” he said

Sanday said earlier this year, the FASANOC board earmarked $50,000 from its 2014 Olympic Solidarity allocation to pay for the cost of certifying officials to AIBA standards and to establish a national amateur boxing structure.

“By January the 4th 2015, we may have to withdraw boxing from the Pacific Games,” Sanday said.

“We can’t afford to be slapped with a US$2000 (F$4004) fine by the Pacific Games Council should we be forced to withdraw boxing due to delays in the amendment of the decree.”

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