Who is Tom Virgets?
I am very proud of having dedicated the last 30 years of my life working in sports. From running a strong sports programme at the Naval Academy in the US (2006 – 2018) to running USA Boxing as President (2006-2010). Today, as AIBA’s CEO, my priority is to ensure that transparency is re-established, together with a high level of knowledge sharing throughout our organisation. I believe AIBA and the sport of Boxing have many positive values and it is essential to get back to the same values that our sport is built on.
What does the new AIBA leadership represent for the future of boxing?
Boxing is entering a new era; with the new AIBA leadership mainly focusing on bringing positive change. Together with the interim President and newly elected AIBA Executive Committee, the goal is to ensure the organisation has learnt from the past and takes positive steps forward.
There has been room for mistakes in our past. Nevertheless, we are working hard on rebuilding boxing and only see a bright future for our sport. Many positive changes have already occurred and especially in the areas linked to good governance, transparent processes and diversity. AIBA is on the right path to keep moving forward.
We hear about different programs supporting the idea of a “New AIBA”. Can you tell us more about that?
The “New AIBA” is built in two steps.
First, we are building a solid foundation – a new foundation plan – together with AIBA stakeholders. This foundation plan will be focused on important key pillars that will be identified.
Second, once a strong foundation is built, a strategy for the future development and growth of boxing can be created and implemented.
To what extend will the development program “Diversity in Boxing” make AIBA thrive?
Looking at the development of our sport, there are three areas, which continuously need support: Good governance and ethics, grassroots development and participation of youth and women in boxing. Diversity in Boxing will support growth in these areas, aiming at:
- Assisting in the reinforcement of National Federations in all organizational and sport aspects at all levels
- Enhancing good governance and ethics in NFs
- Developing Grassroots
- Increasing women and youth participation in boxing
Through an official sponsorship program, AIBA is making 1 million CHF available each year to national federations to strengthen and educate.
There has been negative attention surrounding boxing and our Olympic future, what do you have to say about that?
This has been a challenging time for Boxing. But it has also allowed us to expedite changes that might have otherwise taken much longer to make.
Already, there have been great strides taken to move AIBA forward. The new AIBA leadership is working hard to restore confidence with all of our stakeholders, both internally with athletes, coaches, fans and externally with the Olympic family and the IOC.
Our stakeholders should keep in mind that this is a NEW AIBA – An AIBA that is focused on the future. I am confident that we will achieve our goals as we have a leadership that is dedicated to bring positive change for the future.