Despite the failures of the current leadership of the International Boxing Association (IBA), the sports body has sought to blame all its current problems on past administrations.
IBA’s current president Umar Kremlev has used the ‘independent investigation’ by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren as a convenient tool, reportedly paying over $1 million to McLaren’s company McLaren Global Sports Solutions when commissioning the report in 2021.
All the blame for IBA’s woes, according to McLaren, can now be placed on previous administrations, despite the fact that Kremlev has been president for the past 2 years.
According to McLaren, “the catastrophic state of AIBA finances described above is now a legacy of the Wu Presidency (2006-2017)” – despite former president C.K. Wu having left IBA (then AIBA) over 5 years ago.
At the rubber-stamp IBA Ordinary Congress 2022 held in Abu Dhabi, the sports body duly declared Wu persona non grata, completing the whitewash that Kremlev’s team has been pushing for.
Wu will apparently not be invited to any IBA and Continental events or to any IBA-owned and IBA-sanctioned competitions. Wow, that was a really tough decision.
According to the Kremlev team’s alternate version of reality, the wicked Wu was responsible for everything holding IBA back, while Kremlev himself is the saviour that IBA so desperately needs.
McLaren too has painted a rosy picture of Kremlev and his controversial sponsor Russian energy firm Gazprom.
McLaren claimed that “IBA is changing significantly, there’s been observable progress within the organization”. He forgot to mention that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not share his optimism.
The harsh truth is that Kremlev has been president for over 2 years and has wasted several opportunities to reform IBA’s governance and financial challenges. Under his watch, IBA has become a pariah for the Olympic movement, shut out of organising the Tokyo 2020 Games as well as the Paris 2024 Games.
Things have come to such a pass that boxing could even be excluded from the Paris Games altogether. It has already been excluded from the preliminary line-up for the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
McLaren may have made Wu the fall guy, but it is Kremlev who ultimately bears responsibility for IBA’s wretched position.
As IBA president, Kremlev needs to stop blaming the past and own up to his own failures.