The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is “not amused” by last weekend’s controversial election at the International Boxing Association (IBA), IOC President Thomas Bach said after the end of the 139th IOC Session on Friday.
Russian incumbent Umar Kremlev ‘won’ IBA’s election in Istanbul on May 14, after the only other candidate, Boris van der Vorst, was disqualified in a last-minute decision. Van der Vorst has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against being barred from the election.
“We are not amused to see the circumstances of such an election and now the election being challenged in CAS,” said Bach.
“This is not what we imagined as good governance, but we will now have to wait for the respective CAS decision.”
The IOC has for several years expressed concerns about the integrity of IBA’s management and finances, and the refereeing and judging of bouts.
The IOC had excluded IBA from organising boxing at the Tokyo Games last year.
It is not clear whether IBA will be allowed to organise boxing at the Paris Games in 2024. The IOC recently warned IBA of concerns over the proposed qualifying path for hundreds of boxers.
The sport has already been dropped from the Los Angeles Games in 2028.
Bach said the IOC was monitoring the situation at IBA “very closely”.
The IOC’s Executive Board had a two-day meeting before the IOC Session in Lausanne, where it received an update on the developments in IBA.
“We will not make statements regarding the facts since this is a pending procedure in front of CAS and we hope that this decision will come soon and then we will have more clarity,” Bach told the media.
“Having said this, many of the other concerns are still there. This is the financial dependency on a state-owned company,” he pointed out.
IBA has inked a controversial sponsorship agreement with Russian energy firm Gazprom that may be worth CHF 25 million, as well as spending millions on ‘communication’ and ‘marketing expenses’.
“These are other concerns, while we have to also acknowledge that during the Women’s World Championships that we did not get any reports about manipulation of the refereeing and judging system.
“All this then at the appropriate moment in time has to be taken into account to make the decision,” Bach added.
IBA’s future at the Olympic Games hangs in the balance. The IOC may not be inclined to allow the boxing federation to return to the Olympics, with democratic concerns now added to its challenges in governance, financial stability, and refereeing and judging.