With Umar Kremlev ‘winning’ the controversial election at the International Boxing Association (IBA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is looking closely at the governance issues facing the embattled boxing federation.
“The events surrounding IBA’s general assembly, in particular the elections, merit careful analysis and are just reinforcing the questions and doubts around IBA’s governance,” the IOC said in a statement.
At the IBA Congress in Istanbul, the only other candidate, Dutch Boxing Federation president Boris van der Vorst, was disqualified in a last-minute decision by IBA’s Interim Nomination Unit, leaving Kremlev as the only candidate for the presidency.
Kremlev was then ‘re-elected’ as president with IBA foregoing the need for an actual vote as the National Federations were presented with just one eligible candidate.
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 last week 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.
The IOC said its executive board “will receive an update on the latest developments in IBA” at a two-day meeting this week.
Kremlev 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’.
“The various IOC concerns, including the financial dependency on the state-owned company Gazprom, are still not resolved,” the IOC noted.
Kremlev’s challenger van der Vorst has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against being barred from the election. If the court were to rule in his favour, it would heap further pressure on IBA to resolve its governance issues.