Disgraceful lack of respect and standards shown towards boxing by the IOC as ultimatum given in response to $3.1 million Olympic prize announcement

May 30th, 2024 / IBA

Further to the unprecedented announcement by the IBA regarding its allocation of prize money for our Paris 2024 Olympic champions, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has immediately responded by giving an ultimatum to all National Federations and their boxers. Essentially the heavy-handed message is clear, if you fail to leave the IBA by the turn of the next Olympic cycle, then your athletes will not be able to compete at the Games. This is an absolute travesty and disgrace from allegedly one of the leading sports organizations in the world.

An important reminder to note is that the IBA has never restricted our athletes from any event, we actively support to the fullest, and we continue to do so at all costs. It appears that the IOC fail to recognize the very same values that we at IBA hold dearly… a clear measure and lack of selfless commitment and integrity that they pontificate.

A reminder to all who have been involved in boxing during this turbulent period; the list is non-exhaustive, but provides an insight into the challenges IBA has faced whilst proving its rightful place as the only boxing’s recognized international governing body:

  • From the onset of the governance reform process, the IBA completely changed the top management from the outgoing AIBA organization to a new team from the President down. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • IBA manages to clear all previous debts from the outgoing AIBA organization and provides a strong and transparent financial programme, demonstrating and showing a viable main sponsor amongst others. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • IBA is requested by the IOC to provide all administration in line with their suggested pathway – note, no clear vision provided by the IOC, no pathway shared by the IOC. However, at the same time the IBA is expected to follow a methodology that does not exist. We provided a detailed planning exercise to show how IBA will manage the process moving forward. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • IBA is requested to provide a detailed system for Officials (Referees and Judges/International Technical Officials); the IBA R&J Committee, alongside the IBA Competition Committee provided a detailed process of clean education and development. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • IBA is requested to provide a selection process for all officials prior to international events; a system is put in place by the IBA R&J Committee, alongside the IBA Competition Committee. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • IBA is requested to put a system in place for the Officials vetting process that positively vets all officials prior to both selections, and prior to the commencement of any event. The IBA puts this in place with McLaren Global Sporting Solutions, to include the introduction of artificial intelligence and a series of questions that can identify potential corruption activity. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • As a result of IBA post vetting and interviews, over 25 officials were removed from the pool to clean up the sport across all five continents. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.
  • The IBA has positively managed the issues presented by the IOC in all field of play activities, as communicated by the current existing lead element of the ‘Paris Boxing Unit’ verbally during the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. Result. The IOC says it is not enough and fails to recognize.

Finally, after one of the most monumental and positive prize fund announcements made by the IBA in support of our athletes who will be participating in the Olympics in Paris 2024, the IOC responds by effectively punishing our boxers, the people who remain at the very heart of everything that IBA believes in and supports. A double standard and biased declaration, that once again shows the true colours of the International Olympic Committee.

The admission by the IOC that they are unable to manage the qualification events, and indeed the finals of the boxing competition remains true. Many National Federations have commented on their negative experience with this journey for Paris 2024, and have witnessed the very low level, almost what seems like half-heartedly executed events.

This is a clear demonstration of discrimination to the whole sport of boxing and IBA in particular in its purest form, this latest declaration of the IOC shows and validates an organization that has zero respect for a fully functioning independent International Federation, along with its members, officials, coaches, and most importantly, our boxers.

A reminder to all our members, IBA remains a vibrant, financially sound, and fully functioning International Federation. Our events are managed at the highest level, witnessed by all, to include prize money that provides real support for our athletes and families alike. The next six months will see some extremely exciting changes for IBA, focusing on the pathway for our athletes, from amateur grass root boxing, through to the transition into the professional arena.

Simply put, actions speak louder than words.