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Exclusive: Kremlev’s Team Spent $1.18 Million on ‘Communication’ and ‘Marketing’

The International Boxing Association (IBA) spent over CHF 1.16 million ($1.18 million) on ‘Marketing’ and ‘Communication Expenses’ in the last financial year, according to WorldBoxing.Today analysis.

Under current IBA president Umar Kremlev, who was elected in December 2020, the federation spent CHF 1.16 million ($1.18 million) till June 2021, compared to just CHF 30,900 ($31,400) the previous year.

This has raised questions over the long-term financial situation at IBA under Kremlev.

It is not clear whether IBA undertook any large communication or marketing campaigns during January-June 2021 that could justify such a high price tag.

Six months later, in December 2021, IBA did propose a rebrand at the IBA Congress, which was approved, but this image change was in the current financial year (2021-2022) and not covered by last year’s accounts.

The branding move changed the federation’s acronym from AIBA to IBA, followed by a new-look website in April 2022. These branding expenses will be declared in the current year’s financial accounts (2021-2022) that have not yet been prepared.

However, IBA has allocated an eye-watering figure of CHF 5.8 million this year for ‘Marketing’ and ‘Communication Expenses’, which seems rather high for a branding change and new website.

The balance sheet in IBA’s statutory accounts ending June 30, 2021, reveals this huge jump in expenses:

Description of expenses
(in CHF)
2019-2020
(before Kremlev became president)
2020-2021
(Kremlev became president)
2021-2022
(projected for current year)
Marketing0530,4964,007,871
Communication30,947635,7991,885,875
Total30,9471,166,2955,893,746

Also, these figures do not explain what the CHF 1.16 million in early 2021 was spent on.

IBA’s Communication & Marketing team has five employees. It is headed by Svetlana Tarasova, who worked with Kremlev when he was chief of the Russian Boxing Federation. Tarasova followed Kremlev to IBA to head its communications department when he became president. 

There is no suggestion of any impropriety here. These large expenses may well be legitimate spending by the IBA administration under Kremlev. But one cannot escape feeling the expenses are extraordinary for a federation whose financial situation is still in question.

Financial stability will be one of the key criteria on which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will consider whether IBA can organise boxing at Paris 2024.

Kremlev has not replaced Gazprom as main sponsor, despite the possibility of boxing being tainted by IBA’s association with the Russian firm.

With Kremlev’s team racking up huge expenses during his tenure, he may now find serious questions raised over his own leadership at the IBA Congress next week.

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