|07-28-2003, 01:33 PM||#1|
Bill proposed for a federal regulatory agency in boxing
WASHINGTON -- Inconsistent regulation of boxing has led to permanent and sometimes fatal injuries, economic exploitation of fighters, and corruption, congressional investigators said Tuesday.
The General Accounting Office report found professional boxing is regulated predominantly on a state-by-state basis, which often results in varying degrees of oversight.
The lack of consistency among state commissions does not adequately assure professional boxers even minimum protections established in federal law, said the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.
Last week, in Cedar City, Utah, a 35-year-old boxer collapsed in the ring and died. The victim had previously been defeated 25 consecutive times over a 3-year period, but the local boxing commission allowed him to enter the ring.
The GAO's conclusions and the latest tragedy are further evidence of the need for uniform minimum standards for boxing, said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
McCain has proposed a bill that would create a federal regulatory agency to set standards for the boxing industry. The Senate Commerce Committee approved the bill in March, and it is awaiting full Senate consideration.
Boxing is the only major professional sport in the country without a central regulatory authority. There is no other major professional sport in which the rules and regulations vary so widely, the report said.
The Association of Boxing Commissions, a nonprofit organization representing 46 state and eight tribal boxing commissions, promotes health and safety provisions but has no enforcement authority over its members, the GAO said.
The 1996 Professional Boxing Safety Act established minimum health and safety standards for professional boxing and provided for limited federal oversight by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission. The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000 amended the 1996 act to better protect boxers and the integrity of the sport.
Still, the GAO said, "Although the sport has generated enormous wealth for others, many professional boxers have been left penniless."
The GAO recommended:
Requiring pension plans for boxers.
Full disclosure of purses and payments.
Minimum uniform contractual terms between boxers and promoters.
Prohibiting conflicts of interest.
Requiring registration and training for judges, referees and others.
Preventing sanctioning organizations from exercising influence in the selection of judges.
Establishing uniform boxing and scoring rules.
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