The controversial ‘re-election’ of Russian incumbent Umar Kremlev at the International Boxing Association (IBA) last month has been shown to be illegitimate, following a bombshell judgement of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Lausanne-based court ruled on Tuesday that Kremlev’s sole challenger Boris van der Vorst was incorrectly disqualified by IBA on the eve of the election in Istanbul.
“The CAS Arbitrator in charge of the matter found that the Appellants had committed only a minor breach of the regulations governing the IBA elections (early campaigning) which would have deserved a light sanction such as a warning or even no sanction, but not an exclusion from the election,” noted CAS’ press release.
Furthermore, “the incumbent President (Kremlev) had committed the same minor violation and had not been sanctioned for it.”
This clear judgement against the disqualification of van der Vorst left the sports federation scrambling for a response. It first said it would “take legal advice on its implications”. Within 24 hours, Kremlev tried to put a brave face on the legal loss:
“If CAS has stated that my opponent should have been eligible to stand for election, then let us have a new election,” Kremlev declared in a press release.
He, however, left the decision to the IBA Board of Directors which will meet on June 24.
A rerun of the election is the only realistic option available to IBA to ensure its election process retains some credibility.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has for several years expressed concerns about the integrity of IBA’s management and finances, and the refereeing and judging of bouts.
The IOC had excluded IBA from organising boxing at the Tokyo Games last year.
It is not clear whether IBA will be allowed to organise boxing at the Paris Games in 2024. The IOC recently warned IBA of concerns over the proposed qualifying path for hundreds of boxers.
The sport has already been dropped from the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
IOC President Thomas Bach said last month that the IOC was monitoring the situation at IBA “very closely” and was waiting for the CAS judgement, after which “we will have more clarity”.