This could be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. One day before the presidential election of the International Boxing Association (IBA), the challenger to the incumbent has been disqualified, throwing the legitimacy of the entire election process into doubt.
In a last-minute move that seemed more in place in the Soviet period than in a modern sports federation, Dutch Boxing Federation president Boris van der Vorst was deemed ineligible by the Interim Nomination Unit of IBA’s Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU), leaving Russian incumbent Umar Kremlev as the only candidate.
While Kremlev could win Friday’s election by default, he would lose all legitimacy in the eyes of the sporting world.
Van der Vorst’s lawyers are examining the legality of the decision, along with the four candidates standing for the Board of Directors, who were also disqualified.
They are Mike McAtee (USA Boxing CEO), Steve Hartley (Boxing New Zealand president), Per-Axel Sjoholm (Swedish Boxing Federation president) and Lars Brovil (Danish Boxing Association president).
The five disqualified candidates issued a joint statement:
“The candidates acknowledge but do not agree with the Interim Nomination Unit’s ruling, given the conflicting ‘not guilty’ verdict of the IBA Disciplinary Committee on May 11, 2022.
“The candidates have been in communication with their legal team, which has filed an emergency appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“The candidates stated they ran their campaigns calling for a change of IBA leadership and culture, financial accountability, proper governance, sustainable management, ethical behaviour inside and outside the field of play.
“They will continue to fight for this cause and will use all legal avenues available to them,” the statement read, as seen by WorldBoxing.Today.
Their disqualification stems from the creation of a group called the Common Cause Alliance (CCA) in which the five candidates had signed open letters to IBA.
The ruling is based on an introductory letter that the CCA has sent to National Federations.
The BllU lnterim Nomination Unit claimed that the five candidates were in breach of the rules against collaboration between candidates and electoral campaigning outside the electoral period.
Today’s decision could have serious implications for IBA, which is already suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). If Kremlev were to win the presidential election on Friday with his challenger disqualified, the IOC may well decide it has had enough. This could mean the end of IBA organising boxing at the Olympic Games.
“The IOC is monitoring the developments in IBA very closely,” an IOC spokesman reportedly told the media.