Imagine Boxing Blogs

The McCracken ban madness

We look at why Rob McCracken has had his licence revoked

Posted Apr 07, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Rob McCracken

Rob McCracken had his licence revoked earlier this week after the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) introduced new regulations which prevented any coaches with ties to professional sport from amateur events.

The British Olympic Association has now said that it will investigate the situation of behalf of the GB Boxing head coach. In addition to his role at GB Boxing, McCracken is also a coach to WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch which is where the issue has arisen.

A spokesperson from the BOA has said that the organisation will be seeking clarification of the new rule and why it has suddenly been included. I suspect the reasoning behind the inclusion is to prevent a similar investigation that was carried out in the world of cycling which saw Deloitte lead a year-long investigation into the relationship between British Cycling (a non-profit) and Team Sky (obviously a commercial, competitive entity). I believe that this is AIBA’s attempt to distance itself from any kind of commercial or professional ties so as to remain an unbiased and squeaky clean centre of amateur boxing.

It could also be a move to maintain the competitive landscape at an amateur level and to avoid unfair advantages being gained by amateur boxers who are lucky enough to get coaching from those with experience in pro circles. However given that McCracken has been a coach to both Team GB and pro boxer Carl Froch for some time (and there are likely other examples of coaches who have split their time similarly) it does seem odd that AIBA would introduce a rule now.

Especially considering the London 2012 Olympic Games are not far off and this decision to revoke McCracken’s coaching licence could have a significant impact on the performance of the boxing team – it does seem like an unusual and arguably unpatriotic move to take.

The British Olympic Association has said nothing more than that they will investigate, obviously it is in their interest to metaphorically sit on the fence until such a time as they have the full facts on the matter. A spokesperson for AIBA confirmed the rule to press and said it was introduced last month and that it is both sad and unfortunate for the individuals affected.

It is still baffling as to why AIBA would do this now and cut from the scene one of the leading lights in boxing performance coaching who has been with the Team GB squad since 2009 leading the team along a road of glory so far. Indeed, under McCracken’s guidance the GB boxers brought home five medals from the European Championships last year which is their best performance since the ‘60s. One could only speculate that given perhaps there is someone at AIBA with a grudge to hold.

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