By Gareth A Davies, Boxing Correspondent
Great Britain's boxing set-up for the London 2012 Olympics has delivered the devastating news that Rob McCracken, head coach and performance director, has had his licence revoked with immediate effect by the amateur code's world governing body, AIBA.
AIBA have told McCracken, who has been in the job since November 2009, that due to his professional links with Carl Froch, the World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion, he will no longer be able to take part in AIBA-sanctioned events.
Those include Olympic qualifying events, the World Championships and the Olympics themselves in London next year.
In spite of McCracken having been in situ as GB amateur head for 16 months, AIBA claimed yesterday they have only recently been made aware of the link. GB officials are claiming that the rule was created on March 24 this year, but AIBA insisted yesterday the rule has been in place for some time.
AIBA claimed they had invoked a constitutional rule but later contradicted themselves when a spokesman for the organisation admitted that the rule change had been made last month.
It means that McCracken will be barred until he surrenders his professional coaching licence, plus a six-month ‘cooling off’ period before he can reapply to be reinstated. However, the rule change by AIBA just over a year from an Olympic Games seems illogical.
AIBA have invoked a constitutional rule, meaning that McCracken will be barred until he surrenders his professional coaching licence, plus a six month ‘cooling off’ period.
To requalify, McCracken would have to reapply for an amateur licence through AIBA. Regardless of McCracken’s decision, the time lag would mean his missing the World Amateur Championships, which double as the first Olympic qualifier, in Baku in September this year.
McCracken was not available for comment but a British Amateur Boxing Association official said: "We are very concerned by this development. It could have a serious impact on our boxer's prospects at the world championships later this year and the Olympics in 2012."
AIBA claim the rule is nothing new and that had Paul King, the former chief executive of the Amateur Boxing Association of England declared McCracken's professional links, his amateur licence would have been rejected.
As revealed last month, King has been at loggerheads with AIBA following an aborted attempt last year to replace powerful AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu, from Taiwan, who is also an IOC member.
Wu had threatened last month to ban English boxers from amateur events due to an ongoing disciplinary hearing against King.
An AIBA spokesman claimed yesterday: "It is the case that we did not know that McCracken was coaching a professional boxer until it was brought to our attention at the end of last year.
"We have 195 member federations and it is very difficult for us to have close control over all of them. It's a full-time job keeping lots of people in line with the rules and lots of people need to bring things to our attention."
London 2012 Olympics: Great Britain boxing head coach 'banned' from Games due to professional status (06/04/11)