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IBA’s Board of Directors Sticks its Head in the Sand

Faced with the stripping of the International Boxing Association (IBA) from organising boxing at Paris 2024, and with a court ruling against IBA for incorrectly disqualifying the only challenger in its sham election last month, what did the IBA Board of Directors do at their crucial meeting yesterday?

They collectively stuck their heads in the sand, hoping that somehow the biggest-ever crisis facing the federation would simply go away.

“IBA is deeply disappointed by the IOC’s decision and will now take some time to carefully consider its next steps,” IBA said in a press release.

Everyone in boxing knows what its next step should be: calling a fresh election immediately and ensuring that it is free and fair, to restore some much-needed credibility to IBA.

Yet the Board instead kicked the ball into the long grass, announcing an Extraordinary Congress in three months’ time, between September 24 and October 1. This Congress would then decide whether a new presidential election should be held, and if yes, then hold the election at the Congress.  

Three months to hold an election – seriously? Does the Board not realise the existential threat that IBA faces, that without any connection to the Olympics Games, there is almost no rationale for the IBA to exist.

Unless, by giving Russian incumbent Umar Kremlev three months more in office, the Board has just increased the possibility of horse-trading before the election that could influence the election result.

It comes as no surprise that IBA has been ejected from the Olympics, because its management refuses to take tough decisions and to rid the federation of the corrupting influence of money.

The Board claimed that it took “key decisions” at its meeting on Friday, though one wonders which decisions these were.

“IBA will continue working on reforming its governance, financial integrity and sporting integrity to ensure boxers and IBA itself can enjoy a fair chance and a fair fight,” IBA announced.

Perhaps the Board should reflect deeply on how it allowed IBA to reach this sorry state.

The Board apparently approved the budget for the next financial year 2022-2023. It is not yet clear if this includes millions for ‘Marketing’ and ‘Communication Expenses’.

IBA has already spent CHF 4.08 million ($4.07 million) on ‘Marketing’ and ‘Communication Expenses’ in the current financial year, according to WorldBoxing.Today analysis.

The Board also reportedly “voted to announce 2022 as a “Year of Africa” and reiterated its support for the development of the National Federations of Africa and Oceania.”

In other words, more schemes to win over National Federations in Africa and the Asia Pacific, a rich source of votes come election day.

Sadly, it appears some federations are more interested in serving their own interests rather than the sport itself.

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