Four booted for bribe attempt

MILAN -- Four officials of the Mongolia team were expelled from the world boxing championships Thursday for allegedly trying to bribe a referee with a watch.

The Mongolian boxers, their coaches and team doctor were allowed to stay in Milan until the championships end Saturday, the International Amateur Boxing Association said on its Web site.

AIBA's code of ethics says any gifts offered to a referee must be authorized. Gifts can be exchanged "only as a mark of respect or friendship" but must have a nominal value.

AIBA spokesman Richard Baker said the Mongolian delegation violated the code by the manner in which the watch was offered, and because it hadn't been cleared by AIBA.

"Depending on how it was done, these things can be approved," he said. In the Mongolian case, "it wasn't done with transparency."

The code of conduct first took effect during the Beijing Olympics. It was designed to "eliminate any potential of suspicion" that gifts might affect the outcome of a match, Baker said.

More than 550 boxers from 133 countries are participating in the world championships.