Boxing: Money row jeopardises Khan's future as an amateur

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The Independent Online

Amir Khan's advisers claim that the Olympic silver medallist could be forced to turn professional against his wishes by the end of this week.

Khan's management team have accused the Amateur Boxing Association of failing to promise satisfactory financial support for his decision to go for gold in Beijing in four years' time. They claim the 17-year-old will have no choice but to accept one of his many offers to turn professional if the ABA do not respond with immediate effect.

Khan's manager, Asif Vali, said: "If I was in the ABA I would have been locked in discussions with Amir as soon as he arrived back in England. Instead they have been dragging their feet and it is no wonder so many young boxers elect to turn professional.

"Amir has confirmed to the ABA his desire to stay amateur but it is unfair to expect him to do so if he is not given the financial support. If the ABA have not forwarded us a concrete offer by the end of this week we will have no choice but to begin speaking to everybody else out there."

ABA officials say they are working on proposals which they believe will prove acceptable to Khan. They say Khan's advisers informally accepted a four-year package worth £280,000 which was made at a meeting a fortnight ago, believed to include a salaried post in sports development.

In a statement, the ABA chairman, Jim Smart, said his body had made an unprecedented offer for Khan to remain amateur until the 2008 Olympics.

"ABAE Ltd, following extensive negotiations with Sport England, put together a £280,000 deal for Amir Khan to remain within the amateur ranks," said Smart. "This offer was made in London on the 8th September, at a formal meeting attended by Amir, his family and advisers plus Sport England and ABA England.

"The offer was informally accepted by Amir and his advisers and a further meeting was set up to be held in Liverpool on Friday, 24th September, 2004 to finalise the details of the offer. This meeting will take place as scheduled on Friday."

Vali did confirm that Khan had been favourable to an initial idea which he believed had been mooted by the ABA. But he said it was imperative for the ABA to finalise their offer so the Khan team did not lose projected sponsorship deals they have been negotiating since their return from Athens.