With the presidential election of the International Boxing Association (IBA) scheduled in May, its Board of Directors has waived the annual membership fees for National Federations for the second consecutive year in a populist move.
The waiving of the dues is ostensibly aimed at providing additional support during Covid-19, and is subject to approval by the IBA Congress.
The Congress, held every two years, is also expected to determine future annual affiliation fees.
There are 204 National Federations affiliated to the IBA. It had waived the annual fees last year as well to offset the impact of Covid-19.
IBA President Umar Kremlev claimed it was important to offer assistance to the several National Federations facing financial difficulties.
“Only with strong National Federations (NFs), we will achieve our ambitious objectives,” he declared.
“Our main task is to support NFs, especially during these challenging times where the pandemic prevents to conduct many sports events,” Kremlev added.
The Men’s World Championships were held in Belgrade last year, and the Women’s World Championships are slated to be held in Istanbul in May this year.
The IBA is facing a race against time to preserve boxing’s place on the Olympic programme for Paris Olympics in 2024. The sport has already been left off the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) “initial programme” at Los Angeles 2028, along with modern pentathlon and weightlifting.
A deadline of 2023 has been set for it to “demonstrate it has successfully addressed the ongoing concerns around its governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and integrity of refereeing and judging process”.
The IBA, then known under the acronym AIBA, was suspended as the sport’s Olympic governing body by the IOC in 2019, because of its precarious financial situation and concerns over governance and refereeing and judging.
The boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020 was organised by an IOC Boxing Task Force led by International Gymnastics Federation President Morinari Watanabe.
Kremlev was elected as IBA president in 2020, but concerns continue to be raised over the financial stability of the federation and its governance.
Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren revealed in a damning report in December that bout-rigging had continued till at least 2021 at IBA’s boxing tournaments.