Ex-WSB chief Khodabakhsh to head golf’s Ladies’ European Tour
Thursday, 13 December 2012
December 13 - Former World Series of Boxing (WSB) chief executive Ivan Khodabakhsh has been unveiled as the new head of golf's Ladies European Tour (LET) and will take up the role next month.
Khodabakhsh helped oversee the successful launch of the International Boxing Association's (AIBA's) professional boxing competition WSB in 2010 and was at the helm for the first two seasons of the event.
He stepped down last month just before the start of WSB season three with Karim Bouzidi taking over as WSB chief executive.
Khodabakhsh takes over as LET chief executive from Alexandra Armas, who is leaving after nearly eight years at the helm.
"I am really thrilled to be appointed and excited by the challenge of growing the tour in a number of areas that will benefit the players, sponsors and engage fans of women's golf," said Khodabakhsh, who has also previously served as event director at the European Athletic Association.
"There is huge potential for growth in women's golf, especially considering the inclusion of the sport in the Olympic programme at Rio 2016."
But despite successfully establishing the WSB brand internationally, Khodabakhsh was at the centre of a media storm in September 2011 when he was alleged to be involved in a "cash-for-medals" scandal.
Allegations from BBC Newsnight claimed that an individual from Azerbaijan paid $9 million (£6 million/€7 million) to the WSB and in exchange for two boxing gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics, with Khodabakhsh facilitating the payment.
But despite the allegations, Khodabakhsh was cleared of any wrongdoing following a special independent investigation set-up by AIBA and also by a subsequent International Olympic Committee (IOC) investigation.
LET chair Karen Lunn said she is delighted to secure the services of Khodabakhsh.
"Ivan was the unanimous choice of the Board from over 100 applicants for the role and we believe his vision, commercial expertise and experience in a number of sports will prove to be a huge asset as we look to further enhance the opportunities for our playing members," said Lunn.
"I would also like to place on record our appreciation of the excellent job that Alexandra Armas has done for us and wish her every success in the future.
"Alexandra advised us in March this year of her intention to step down and she has been of great help during the recruitment process of her successor."
November 2012: WSB appoints new chief operating officer
December 2011: Exclusive - AIBA President welcomes findings of Special Investigation Committee
December 2011: AIBA conclude BBC allegations "unsupported by any credible evidence"
October 2011: AIBA Special Investigation Committee begins work looking into BBC allegations
October 2011: Alan Hubbard - It is all very well blowing whistles. Time somebody rang the bell