Lausanne (Switzerland), June 8 : The International Boxing Association (IBA) has rejected as “truly abhorrent” and “purely political” the recommendation by the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to withdraw IBA’s recognition over failure to resolve governance issues.
The IBA said the IOC EB has largely ignored and not taken into consideration all the efforts undertaken by the IBA, with its democratically elected leadership, in conducting international boxing during the last two years.
“The recommendation of the IOC EB does not reflect the reality of the situation where extraordinary progress on reforms and internationally recognized standards of good governance have been implemented under the guidance and supervision of Professor Dr Ulrich Haas’ Governance Reform Group and backed up by comprehensive investigation of the past conducted by Professor Richard McLaren’s team,” the IBA said in a statement posted on its official website.
“These positive steps for the organisation have been commended by boxers and stakeholders at the heart of the sport around the globe,” the statement said.
The IOC Executive Board (EB) had on Wednesday recommended to the IOC Session to withdraw recognition of the International Boxing Association (IBA).
The IOC had in 2019 suspended the IBA over matters of governance, financial mismanagement and allegations of irregularities in referring and judging at the Olympics and Wednesday’s recommendation has been made in accordance with Rule 3.7 of the Olympic Charter (OC), the IOC informed in a media release.
To discuss the matter and take a final decision, the IOC EB and the IOC President have convened an Extraordinary IOC Session to be held remotely on Thursday, June 22, 2023.
The IBA, however, promised retaliatory measures against the IOC decision and said it will never accept that it is not compliant with the standards of good governance.
“The IBA as the home of boxing reserves its right to take retaliatory measures, as the organisation in its current state will never acknowledge the assertion that IBA is not compliant with the standards of good governance or that IBA does not deserve its place at the Olympic movement.
“In addition, IBA strongly denies all allegations that it has put the reputation of the Olympic movement in jeopardy but has rather respected the IOC’s recommendations and followed them,” the IBA said in its statement.
IBA President Umar Kremlev said, “From a disreputable organisation named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long.”
“We have made the International Boxing Association new, transparent, clean, and our successes were publicly acknowledged by international independent experts and there is only one organisation that has no interest in recognizing our tremendous progress,” he said.
He claimed, “For four years, the IBA has not received a single opportunity to present its achievements at an in-person meeting with the IOC, rather than only exchanging letters and emails instead.
We accepted the process and the rules, but in the end, we were not assessed fairly.Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court.”
He said the IBA’s case is a “watershed moment for all international federations as what is now is a litmus test to gauge the level of apathy within IFs and the Olympic movement”.
“Strong, autonomous, and financially independent IFs should be keenly aware and concerned as they are witnessing the time-tested political and strategic tool of orchestrated coups for the sake of regime change, leaving only one winner, the organization seeking absolute power, and many losers consisting mainly the athletes.Today this happens to IBA and becomes a precedent for others, so everybody should be concerned about the unchecked power of the body that has no limits,” said Kremlev.
IBA Secretary General and CEO George Yerolimpos claimed the IBA has done the work necessary to regain its recognition.”We have continually requested the opportunity to meet and discuss the matters to no avail.An invitation to meet the IBA Adhoc Communication Committee composed of representatives from all continents including the five Presidents of IBA’s Confederations to allow for balanced representation was declined for reasons that can be only interpreted as stonewalling the opportunity for open dialogue between our two organizations,” he said.
“The IOC must comply with the Olympic Charter when deciding to withdraw IBA’s recognition.In April this year, the IBA requested the IOC to specify which rule, article and/or paragraph of the Olympic Charter, the World Anti-Doping Code, the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions, any other decision, or applicable regulation issued by the IOC has been violated by IBA to no IOC response.
Further to that, no rule of the above-mentioned law was named by the IOC as a legal ground to withdraw full recognition of the IBA,” said the IBA statement.
The IBA will inform its members about its further steps in due course, the statement said.
The IBA is already facing another challenge with some top countries quitting it and joining a rival body, World Boxing.Members that have quit IBA include the United States, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
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