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Resignation of Board Member Grueva Reveals Disarray at IBA

Emilia Grueva, a member of the Board of Directors of the International Boxing Association (IBA), has resigned from her position, making a damning criticism of the “questionable” governance and “untransparent” leadership under current president Umar Kremlev.

Grueva is the vice-president of the Bulgarian Boxing Federation and was elected to the IBA Board (then called AIBA Executive Committee) in November 2017. 

She denounced the “inappropriate acts of leadership” at IBA in a letter to the National Federations and the Board of Directors.

“I no longer believe in the way IBA is being led and I am more and more ashamed to be a member of its Board because I think that Board has been the most undemocratic and untransparent ever, being overly secretive, manipulative and controlled by external parties, including lawyers, and not by its Board of Directors,” said Grueva. 

She claimed that members received the agenda and documents only a day before meetings and that all issues were presented by lawyers and external contractors, instead of by Kremlev or IBA’s secretary general István Kovács.

“Clearly the legal team in IBA has the mighty power over its Board,” noted Grueva.

In her resignation, Grueva warned there was still uncertainty over how IBA’s leadership would clear the federation’s debts, how its financial accounts were managed, and the terms and conditions of the controversial sponsorship deal with Gazprom.

She also claimed that Board members were not being able to view financial documents, as required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and there was a “feeling of fear and an attitude of obedience towards the IBA President”.

“However, after finally receiving the financial reports from IBA on May 3, given the way IBA manages our sport, I thought it is the time to dissociate myself from the current leadership.

“There are too many unresolved and questionable issues ahead of us.

“However, for me, the main agenda should be the Olympic Games.

“The existence of IBA and boxing within the Olympic movement is at stake and it seems that the current IBA management and the current IBA Board do not realize that it does not take appointing governance and/or integrity experts to resolve IBA issues.

“The example must come from the top and so far, for me, none of the IBA issues have been properly addressed.

“Therefore, I would like to emphasize the importance of the existing risk at IBA because our boxers could be faced with the serious possibility of losing all their Olympic dreams, which we must prevent,” Grueva pointed out.

Her resignation comes just days before Kremlev faces Boris van der Vorst in IBA’s presidential election on May 13.

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