Presidential candidate Boris van der Vorst has called for immediate change at the International Boxing Association (IBA), which he says is “in existential crisis”.
Calling for ‘A New Era for Boxing’, van der Vorst’s 15-page manifesto promises fair sport, maximising potential television revenue and achieving financial sustainability for IBA.
Van der Vorst is president of the Dutch Boxing Federation and is standing against Russian incumbent Umar Kremlev for the presidency of IBA. The election is scheduled this Friday at the IBA Congress in Istanbul.
“Our International Association continues to face serious sport integrity, governance and financial issues, as indicated in the recent International Olympic Committee (IOC) Interim Report on AIBA (IBA), the McLaren reports, as well as in the Professor Haas’ governance report,” van der Vorst wrote in his manifesto.
For him, the very existence of IBA at the Olympics is at stake, with boxing already dropped from Los Angeles 2028 and its presence at Paris 2024 still undecided.
The Dutchman also questioned Kremlev’s financial management at IBA. This follows WorldBoxing.Today’s analysis that Kremlev’s team spent over CHF 1.16 million ($1.18 million) on ‘Marketing’ and ‘Communication Expenses’ in the last financial year.
“Financial management of IBA in the past 18 months has proven to be ineffective, if not incompetent,” van der Vorst claimed.
“IBA has not followed its own budget, which is its constitutional obligation.
“Instead of focusing on sport integrity, many millions have been spent on external consultants, marketing and communication without any success to generate additional revenue sources, such as television rights sales of its major competitions or additional sponsorships.
“The fiscal year will not result in any net gains for IBA and it is a clear attempt to take all of us National Boxing Federations, as hostages to yet another promise of certain individuals, who speak of bringing in yet another ‘miracle sponsor’.
“Another ‘sponsor’ that is clearly ready to advance individual interests, not the interests of our sport.”
Van der Vorst said there was little transparency over the settlement of debts with National Federations, likening the situation to a “private club”.
He also accused the IBA of holding back a fourth report by Richard McLaren into potential corruption within the federation until after the IBA Congress.
Van der Vorst’s manifesto recommends that IBA replace Russian energy firm Gazprom as its main sponsor.
The IOC has raised concerns over the IBA’s dependence on a single source of revenue, with Gazprom having funnelled around CHF 25 million into the sports federation as of June 30, 2021.
Gazprom is also seen as funding Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and the sports world, except IBA, has reacted quickly to drop Russian funding. The failure of IBA to replace Gazprom is seen as a failure of leadership within the federation.
Van der Vorst concluded his manifesto with a vow to reinstate IBA at the Olympics and get boxing back on the programme for Los Angeles 2028.
“I promise to you that we will fulfil the criteria set in the IOC Interim Report and IBA will be reinstated as an IOC recognized International Federation.
“We will prove that we can develop, plan, and execute a fair, balanced, and comprehensive Qualification System for Paris 2024.
“Most importantly, we will safeguard the return of boxing into the LA2028 Olympic Program!” van der Vorst declared.