The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stripped the International Boxing Association (IBA) of its rights to organise boxing events at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games due to ongoing concerns over governance issues within the organisation.
This includes qualifying events for the Games, meaning this will be the second consecutive Olympics where the IOC will organise events without the International Federation.
IOC sports director Kit McConnell said the recent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case that found IBA Presidential hopeful Boris van der Vorst should have been able to stand after being deemed ineligible, was the last straw.
“The IOC felt enough was enough and in the interest of the athletes and the boxing community, has decided the boxing qualifying events and competition will not be run under the authority of the IBA,” said McConnell.
“This decision is centred on the athletes themselves to provide certainty on the Olympic competitions and the Olympic qualifications leading up to Paris 2024 and follows the very concerning issues that continue to go on in the IBA.
“To give athletes certainty, the IOC Board had to step in.”
In response, the IBA said it was “deeply disappointed” with the decision, and added it would take time to “carefully consider its next steps.”
Concerns outlined by the IOC included IBA’s finances, refereeing and judging system, as well as its governance.
It added that no host city contracts had been signed for IBA’s proposed Paris 2024 qualification system, with just two years until quota spots have to be finalised.
A letter to Kremlev from IOC director general Christophe de Kepper and Pâquerette Girard Zappelli from the IOC chief ethics and compliance office – seen by insidethegames – said the decision to remove IBA from Paris 2024 preparations was unanimous.
McConnell added the IOC had not decided the format of the boxing taskforce for Paris or if it would bear similarities to the one used at the Tokyo Games, mentioning a proposal would be sent back to the Executive Board for approval.
He acknowledged that the “limited pool of qualified referees and judges” was an issue, but promised they “will again go through a very extensive review and process”.
“The IOC administration will finalise on an exceptional basis alternative models for the organisation of these boxing competitions, working closely with the Paris 2024 Organising Committee and athletes’ representatives,” he added.
“The outcomes of these discussions and suggested recommendations will then be presented to the IOC Executive Board in due course.”
Boxing’s position for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games is to be discussed at a later date.
Van der Vorst was set to stand against incumbent IBA President Umar Kremlev in the election in Istanbul last month at the Extraordinary Congress, however he was one of five hopefuls deemed ineligible the day before voting by the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU).
USA Boxing chief executive Mike McAtee, Swedish Boxing Federation President Per-Axel Sjöholm, Steve Hartley, the President of Boxing New Zealand, and Danish Boxing Association President Lars Brovil were all deemed ineligible, with all but Brovil deciding to appeal.
The BIIU found the five to have breached rules related to early campaigning and collaboration between candidates, however, the CAS threw out the collaboration claim.
The CAS did find that the candidates had breached early campaigning rules, but Kremlev had done so too.
It added that this breach should have led to a warning or no sanction, but not a ruling of ineligibility.
IBA, then known as AIBA, had its IOC recognition withdrawn in June 2019 due to concerns over judging and refereeing, financial stability and governance, leading to the IOC Boxing Task Force handling the sport at Tokyo 2020.
International Gymnastics Federation President Morinari Watanabe chaired the Task Force.
IBA said it was “deeply disappointed” by the IOC’s decision, citing it had passed “key elements” of its proposed qualification system today in its Board meeting.
“With the IBA Board having been elected only last month and with key elements of the Olympic qualification system having been approved today, as previously indicated to the IOC, IBA is deeply disappointed by the IOC’s decision and will now take some time to carefully consider its next steps,” read the statement.
“Meanwhile, IBA will continue working on reforming its governance, financial integrity and sporting integrity to ensure boxers and IBA itself can enjoy a fair chance and a fair fight.”
IBA is to hold a second Extraordinary Congress in September or October this year, with Kremlev and van der Vorst expected to run for Presidency.