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Crucial IBA Elections to be Held in May

The International Boxing Association (IBA) has announced it will hold the election of officials to a reduced Board of Directors in May at a Congress scheduled to be held at the Women’s World Championships in Istanbul.

The Presidential role and 10 independent directors are decided at the Congress, with the Board streamlined from 28 to 18 members.

Russian official Umar Kremlev had been elected as President in December 2020, triumphing over Interim President Mohamed Moustahsane and The Netherlands’ Boris van der Vorst.

This year’s elections are likely to be pivotal with the IBA facing a deadline of 2023 to save its Olympic status from Los Angeles 2028.

Along with weightlifting and modern pentathlon, boxing has been left off the initial programme for the Games in six years’ time, with the International Federations given until next year to meet certain criteria set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Kremlev was elected on a vow to wipe out the organisation’s debts and restore its place at the Olympic Games.

Boxing has appeared in every Olympic Games since it made its debut at St. Louis in 1904, except for Stockholm 1912, because Swedish law banned the sport at the time.

The IBA was stripped of any involvement in organising the boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020, in part due to concerns over refereeing, judging and governance.

Kremlev is also aiming to restore the IBA’s Olympic governing body status in time for Paris 2024, where the sport remains on the programme.

It rebranded at an Extraordinary Congress in December last year, changing its acronym from AIBA to IBA and vowing to deliver a “new organisation”.

For the elections in May, at least five of the 10 independent directors must be women, with one coming from each continent.

Nominations must be submitted by March 2, with a list of eligible candidates set to be revealed on April 22.

The IBA claimed that candidates will “undergo an unprecedented set of eligibility checks”, including detailed evidence that they meet criteria for their roles.

The process was developed by the Governance Reform Group chaired by Swiss professor Ulrich Haas, and was approved at the Extraordinary Congress in December.

Sports technology firm Genius Sports is due to conduct background checks on all candidates, with an Independent Interim Nomination Unit undertaking further examination.

The five-member panel includes former Olympic men’s super heavyweight champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy, and officials such as the chair of the Biathlon Integrity Unit’s Board, Louise Reilly.

Kremlev promised that the Electoral Congress will reflect changes at the organisation during his Presidency.

“Over the past year, IBA has undergone a very impressive transformation in our ability to serve boxers,” he said.

“We have made huge progress in governance reform, financial integrity and sporting integrity.

“The way these elections will take place reflects that transformation.

“The IBA election process has been developed to the highest standards, with the support of the best minds in governance, and we are grateful for that support.”

The new Board is also set to include five representatives elected by the Continental Confederations, and two athletes elected by their peers.

Members of the Audit Committee are due to be elected by the Congress, with members of the Finance and Strategy Committees appointed by the Board after the elections.

Candidates must not be involved with the IBA or its Continental and National Federations to be considered for these Committees, and will be subject to an “integrity check”.

The Governance Reform Group is additionally set to recommend an individual for the IOC liaison officer role appointed by the Board.

This post is aimed at improving IBA’s relationship with the IOC.

An interim report from IOC chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli questioned the International Federation’s contract with Russian majority state-owned company Gazprom, claiming it risks being overly dependent on the natural gas giant for its revenue.

Kremlev denied that the sponsorship was an issue at the Extraordinary Congress, claiming auditors from EY had raised “no concerns”.

The Electoral Congress scheduled to be held alongside the delayed Women’s World Championships in Turkey later this year.

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