The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reportedly again cast doubt over whether the embattled International Boxing Association (IBA) will be allowed back into the Olympic fold in time to organise boxing at Paris 2024.
Less than ten days after the IOC agreed to a new qualification process for boxing at the Paris Olympics, Independent.ie reports that the IOC still has serious concerns over IBA.
IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli and IOC Sport Director Kit McDonnell have written to IBA President Umar Kremlev with a list of concerns.
They acknowledge that their own executive board approved what they describe as the ‘technical elements’ of the Boxing Qualification System (BQS) for Paris 2024.
According to the letter, the approval of the Boxing QS is part of the “standard responsibilities of all International Federations”.
However, the IOC now want to ascertain how the IBA plans to deliver the Qualification System to ensure fairness and transparency in the areas of refereeing and judging.
More worryingly for IBA, the IOC expresses concern over the fact that the majority of the Olympic quota places are to be distributed through a ranking system that has yet to be detailed.
“This reliance on a ranking system which has not yet been implemented may generate additional challenges for you to deliver the promised Boxing QS, in particular in case of technical difficulties or any financial issues,” wrote Zappelli and McDonnell in their letter.
IBA says they plan to stage what they describe as Global Cup tournaments in 2024 at which boxers can secure ranking points. However, they have yet to list where these tournaments will be held, how many there will be or how boxers can earn ranking points.
IBA says they will publish details of the tournaments and the points system by the end of 2022. That is too late for the IOC.
The IOC now wants to know:
− the cities that will host the ranking-qualifying events
− the governance and financial structures of these events
− the ranking system per se (point distribution and its reasonings) and
− the guarantees of acceptable levels of Technical Officials’ management, particularly, that of the Referees and Judges.
Meanwhile, the IOC has also given IBA a May 2 deadline to supply them with updated documentation detailing new processes with regard to referees and judges.
“These documents will be the baseline for both PwC’s independent compliance assessment of your operations in the upcoming Women’s World Championships, as well as for the IOC’s analysis of IBA’s progress in this front,” according to the letter.
Though the letter makes no reference to IBA’s controversial sponsorship deal with the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom, it pointedly seeks to be informed “of the actions IBA has planned to reach financial diversity and independence.”
According to the Independent.ie reporter Sean McGoldrick, the IOC letter is couched in diplomatic language, but the unmistakable message to the IBA is that unless they comply with these lists of requirements, IBA may not be back in the Olympic fold in time for the Paris Games.
It may well be that, if IBA remains suspended as it was at Tokyo 2020, the IOC is once again prepared to run the boxing tournament themselves at Paris 2024.