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September 11, 2000
Honesty is the most lucrative policyAlan Baldwin
Olympic boxing authorities say they will double the money for any judge providing evidence that he has been offered a bribe at the Sydney Games.
International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) general secretary Loring Baker said on Monday there was no proof any Olympic judge had ever taken a bribe but the measure was "to let them know they don't have to".
"There's been so much bad publicity and allegations of corruption that we have to go the extra step to remove even the shadow of a doubt, that there are questionable judges or fixed bouts or anything of that sort," he told Reuters.
"Sometimes you have to do things to prove your innocence as well as your guilt," he added.
Asked specifically whether AIBA would pay up $50,000 if a judge demonstrated he had been offered $25,000, Baker confirmed this was the case.
But he was confident the organisation, who first made the offer at a seminar for Olympic judges in Kazakhstan in June, would end the tournament without paying out.
"We have never had anyone come and say 'I've been offered a cash bribe'. We don't expect it to happen," he said.
"I'm very comfortable it won't happen. This is more or less to let them know they won't have to take a bribe."
Various allegations have been made about the judging of amateur boxing tournaments in the past, with the case of American light-middleweight Roy Jones provoking outrage at the 1988 Seoul Olympics when he lost to a South Korean.
"Probably no gold medallist in Olympic history has been less deserving of his prize than Park Si-Hun, who benefited from five "hometown" decisions," says Olympic historian David Wallechinsky in his "Complete Book of the Olympics".
A Moroccan judge later claimed he had voted for the outclassed Korean so as not to embarrass the host nation and a later IOC investigation concluded that there was no evidence that anyone had bribed the judges.
Baker, an American like Jones, said that fight "was the only one that really stunk. That's the only word to put on it."
"That's history now...There was no paper trail, no record, it was just what was in the judge's mind. It was a smelly, stinky bout. It was a bad decision and it had all the hallmarks of tinkering. But they never did prove it."
AIBA also came in for heavy criticism after the 1999 world championships in Houston, Texas, when the powerful Cuban team walked out in protest after attacking what they called "ill-intentioned" and "dishonest" officiating.
Baker said the Sydney Olympic tournament would have "probably the most monitored officiating there has ever been in boxing anywhere in the world".
"Spy cameras" have been installed over the ring, an "electronic review" system has been installed to compare judges' scoring patterns, jury members will sit behind individual judges and a review panel has also been set up.
Only three of the 34 judges has officiated at an Olympics previously.
In addition, the draw for judges at each fight will be made at the last possible moment and they will be kept secluded from other AIBA officials and the public.
The draw for the main boxing tournament will be "blind", meaning the official drawing the balls from the machine will not be able to see them before they emerge.
"For the first time, the draw for the selection of judges will also be blind and just before the bout," said Baker. "It will be out on the field of play, where anyone can see it being done, right out in the open."
"The judges will be protected from everybody in an area off-limits to any executive committee member or anyone else who has access to the field of play."
"They will also travel to and from the venue on a bus. They will not be walking separately or going by car."
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