Court Upholds IOC Ruling to Remove IBA from Olympic Family

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IBA President Umar Kremlev at a Dubai event in December 2023 (Photo: IBA)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to remove the embattled International Boxing Association (IBA) from the Olympic family.

Sport’s highest court announced Tuesday that it has dismissed the IBA appeal because the organisation “had not complied with the conditions set down by the IOC for recognition.”

The IBA had been de-recognised in June 2023 over concerns about its governance, reliance on money from Russian state energy firm Gazprom, and the integrity of bouts.

The IOC’s executive board recommended the move after the IBA failed to reform following its 2019 suspension. IOC members backed the recommendation with 69 of 70 valid votes.

Boxing kept its status as an Olympic sport for the coming Paris Games, but the IOC is overseeing the qualifying and medal tournaments without IBA involvement, as it did for the Tokyo Games in 2021.

A CAS panel appointed to hear the appeal took testimony from both sides in November. It then ruled that the IBA failed to meet the IOC’s conditions for recognition.

“The IBA had not increased its financial transparency and sustainability including through diversification of revenues,” the CAS said in a statement.

Next, it said the IBA “had not changed its process relating to referees and judges to ensure its integrity, including a monitoring period for IBA’s own competitions ahead of the Olympic Games Paris 2024.”

Finally, the IBA failed to implement governance reform measures “including a change of culture.”

“As a consequence, the panel determined that these three elements justified the IOC Session’s decision to withdraw recognition of the IBA and emphasized that the IOC’s right to control the circumstances in and the conditions on which it confers recognition outweighed the IBA’s personality rights,” the statement added.

In response to the CAS ruling, the Russian-led IBA said it would take legal advice before deciding whether to take the case to an appeal before the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

The IOC welcomed the CAS decision but said national boxing federations and national Olympic committees (NOCs) need to find an organising partner by early next year to ensure the sport remains part of the Games.

World Boxing – a breakaway international federation – was formed in April 2023. It said it would seek recognition from Olympic organisers to replace the IBA and keep the sport on the programme for the LA Games in 2028.

“The leaders of boxing’s National Federations now have a critically important decision to make and we urge every one of them that cares about boxers and the future of the sport to apply to join and support World Boxing in its efforts to ensure boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic Movement, before it is too late,” World Boxing said after the CAS ruling.

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