The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned the International Boxing Association (IBA) that the federation remains suspended, “with concerns remaining in the key areas of governance, financial sustainability and the proven integrity of the refereeing and judging systems”.
In a letter to current IBA president Umar Kremlev, the IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, and sports director Kit McConnell expressed “significant concerns” over IBA’s proposed qualification system for boxing at the Paris Olympics.
They pointed out that, unlike all other international sports federations, IBA had still not established its qualification system for the Paris Games, with just two years to go.
Without this, boxers would “face challenges in finalising their planning of finances, schedules, logistics and, most importantly, training cycles.”
“Unfortunately, rather than providing clear answers to the questions we have raised in relation to your Olympic qualification ranking system, your reply (on May 2) rather focuses on potential future IBA decisions and other elements which have not yet been confirmed and are clearly needed by your National Federations and your athletes.
“Your letter creates the impression that there is significant time available to take the outstanding decisions.
“Therefore, the IOC wishes once more to raise its concerns regarding the necessary details of the Paris 2024 boxing Qualification System.
“In addition, we would like to express our specific concern over the possible selection of events that may not provide fair eligibility criteria, and create possible discrimination.
“Therefore, we urge you to ensure that all boxers have the same level of opportunities to qualify regardless of geographical and/or costs factors,” wrote Girard Zappelli and McConnell.
Their two-page letter dated May 10 was circulated to National Federations and seen by WorldBoxing.Today.
Girard Zappelli and McConnell made it clear that refereeing and judging remains a key area of concern.
“Following a review of your information and observation of recent IBA events, we still have concerns regarding the IBA’s capacity to execute a complex management system of Technical Officials’ management and in particular referees and judges.
“In particular this concern relates to demands of implementing the system in a transparent and credible manner across the wider range of events counting for Olympic ranking points, covering multiple locations and potential simultaneous event dates.
“Therefore, we hereby reiterate our request to receive the full details of your new ranking system, including the calendar.
“Such details will be paramount for the IOC to assess the effective implementation of the Boxing Qualifications System and again are of vital importance for your boxers and athletes.”
The IOC officials said they were still waiting for updated documents on referees’ and judges’ processes at the Women’s World Championships 2022 that are underway in Istanbul.
They said they would “also appreciate clarification whether or not the IBA has not made any changes to its regulations”.
This was “critical information” for athletes, “and also for the independent auditors, who will monitor the current event in Istanbul”.
Crucially, the officials made it clear that “IOC recognition of IBA remains suspended and boxing is not currently included in the sports programme of the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 “.
This is a painful reminder that the IBA leadership have still not come to grips with the key challenges facing the federation. Till it satisfies the IOC on the transparency and efficacy of its proposed qualification system, as well as making improvements in refereeing and judging, IBA may soon find itself shut out of Paris 2024 as well.