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IBA Revamps Audit and Financial Committees, Yet Concerns Persist

IBA has been “on the brink of insolvency in recent years” (Photo: IBA)

The International Boxing Association (IBA) has announced the members of its revamped Audit Committee and Financial Committee, which it claimed would take the embattled federation “to a new level of financial integrity”. Yet concerns persist over the financial stability of IBA, particularly its reliance on an opaque sponsorship deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

The three independent experts in the Audit Committee are:

  • Didier Wicht, owner of Alteris Finance, a Swiss company specialising in audit and technical accounting
  • Stacha Balmat, a finance specialist with 14 years of experience in PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and
  • Umar Akhtar, Technology Program Manager at Tesco UK and audit committee chair of the British American Football Association (BAFA).

Didier Wicht was a member of IBA’s earlier Audit Committee.

These appointments follow the resolution passed by IBA Congress in December 2021 to review the governance framework in the IBA Constitution, with particular reference to its Finance and Audit Committees.

“IBA’s financial integrity and stability is one of our main priorities,” IBA secretary general István Kovács insisted.

“Therefore, we have created a rigorous selection process to appoint the new members for the Audit and Finance Committees.

“The chosen independent members have a wealth of experience in the field of finance, and we will rely on them to help guide IBA to a new level of financial integrity,” he wrote in IBA’s press release.

All candidates were required to undergo background checks undertaken by the independent Interim Nomination Unit and a vetting company.

The Audit Committee is responsible “for reviewing and monitoring IBA’s financial statements and accounting records”.

The IBA has admitted it had been “on the brink of insolvency in recent years”. In March, Kovács told IBA’s national federations that it was “not currently possible to completely cancel” its controversial sponsorship deal with Gazprom.

The IBA’s dependence on the financial largesse of a Russian energy company at a time when Russian energy is seen as funding Putin’s war machine is controversial and puts IBA at odds with other sports federations who have cuts ties with Russian sponsors.

The IBA Finance Committee is responsible for “financial management and to advise the IBA Board of Directors on financial matters and asset management.” It also prepares the budget and any financial statements.

The three members of the Finance Committee are:

  • Felipe Martinez, a member of the previous Audit Committee, is now the IBA Board of Directors’ representative on the Finance Committee
  • Judit Tóth, chairwoman of the Institute for Training and Consulting in Banking, Budapest, and
  • Patrick Bosshard, Managing Partner at consulting company Corpa Switzerland AG. 

The fact that two members of IBA’s earlier Audit Committee – Didier Wicht and Felipe Martinez – have found places on the new committees does not bode well for IBA’s claim of bringing in fresh talent and changing its past practices.

The new committees may therefore not reassure IBA’s national federations and the wider boxing family that IBA is serious about ensuring impartiality and integrity in its financial affairs.

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