The McLaren report is out on the embattled International Boxing Association (IBA). Despite its claim that this was an ‘independent investigation’ by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, in reality, IBA reportedly paid over $1 million to McLaren’s company McLaren Global Sports Solutions in commissioning this report in 2021.
If his findings, published yesterday, are anything to go by, IBA President Umar Kremlev must be considering it money well spent.
All the blame for the federation’s woes, according to McLaren, can now be placed on previous administrations, while he paints a rosy picture of Kremlev and his controversial sponsor Russian energy firm Gazprom.
According to McLaren, “the catastrophic state of AIBA finances described above is now a legacy of the Wu Presidency (2006-2017)”.
Curiously, McLaren’s ‘investigated’ presidential conduct only till the end of 2020 – Kremlev was elected in December that year.
Regarding the state of IBA’s finances, McLaren said “The financial input by Gazprom put an end to the jeopardy that AIBA put itself in and saved it from financial collapse.”
The sponsorship deal inked by Kremlev is worth around CHF 25 million ($26 million), according to WorldBoxing.Today analysis of IBA’s accounts.
The nature of this sponsorship agreement has not been made public by Kremlev, but relying on the financial largesse of a Russian energy giant is controversial at a time when Russian energy is seen as funding Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kremlev, who is now facing a fresh election after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in favour of his rival Boris van der Vorst, welcomed the report.
‘We all know that the image of IBA was damaged due to the mismanagement of the organisation and years of wrongdoings, corruption, biased judgment.
“An independent investigation of IBA’s difficult recent past was necessary, in order for us to be able to put the past behind us. Now we can move on,” Kremlev announced in a press release.
He made no mention of how much IBA paid McLaren Global Sport Solutions to produce the report.
“Where there is proof that competitions were manipulated, there should be disciplinary action. Meanwhile, IBA is already at work implementing comprehensive reforms in the areas of governance, finance and sporting integrity,” claimed Kremlev.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has for several years expressed concerns over IBA’s governance, transparency, financial stability and refereeing and judging.
IBA was excluded from organising boxing at the Tokyo Games 2020, and the federation could be excluded from the Paris Games 2024 as well.
Last week, CAS ruled that IBA incorrectly disqualified Kremlev’s sole challenger van der Vorst on the eve of the presidential election in May.
“The CAS Arbitrator in charge of the matter found that the Appellants had committed only a minor breach of the regulations governing the IBA elections (early campaigning) which would have deserved a light sanction such as a warning or even no sanction, but not an exclusion from the election,” noted CAS’ press release on June 14.
Furthermore, “the incumbent President (Kremlev) had committed the same minor violation and had not been sanctioned for it.”