The International Boxing Association notes the comments in respect of the recent communication from the IOC; this includes a revised version of the Paris 2024 Boxing Qualification System (OQS). Whilst we acknowledge the changes, IBA remains concerned, specifically with regards to the removal of the ranking pathway which was originally agreed in April of this year. The IOC had been integral in this early collaborative work with IBA, forming a specific working group to create the OQS. These late changes will have a significant and direct impact on the agreed 2022/23 forecast of events, not only at IBA level, but also for the confederations who are deep into the process of planning their elite staged events. The system initially approved by the IOC was designed to make all criteria fair, transparent and open to all.
IBA also notes that, whilst it was criticized for not providing by the end of June all the deliverables related to the qualification system, notably with less than two years before Paris 2024, there is still no clarity on how the system will be executed, its exact timeline, and the location of Africa multisport event and world qualification tournaments.
Neither is IBA aware of consultations made by the IOC with key IBA stakeholders, including IBA technical committees and IBA Athletes Committee, whilst it is claimed that the new qualification process puts boxers first.
The perceived double standard approach relating to the joint assessment work in the technical officials space remains extremely disappointing. The IOC boxing independent expert group and IBA subject matter experts have been working extremely closely over the past 6 months to share best practice. The results of this positive collaborative work have indeed been seen and recognised at the highest level. Comments have been made by the IOC President, Mr Thomas Bach, relating specifically to the good, clean and positive work set against the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul. Our work in the integrity space has already had a significant positive impact on results coming out at world level competition. Trust is extremely important whilst working together in the team environment; positive feedback has been prevalent during this time, so it remains really difficult and disappointing to understand the sudden change in tact and direction.
IBA has worked extremely hard over the past 12-18 months in the management, training, and professional development space for all technical officials. The pre-course requirements to all major championships has proved to be a great success, along with the support provided by Professor McLaren and the artificial intelligence programme. The random draw process has been applied to all events, and the management of this process has been personally praised by independent experts external to the organization. All key positions within the field of play are carefully monitored in ensuring that highly competent officials vetted thoroughly prior to appointment. All respective administration relating to the selection criteria has been carefully formulated and planned; the ongoing development programme has captured all lessons learned from the past, ensuring that the training methodologies are absolutely on point with the latest ethics and behavior requirements; all of which have been actively supported by the IOC/IBA working group.
IBA is also surprised to learn that independent experts identified issues related to competition management and refereeing and judging processes during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham; specifically when comments were made about ‘how the integrity management relating to technical officials within IBA’ is now fixed. Whilst we acknowledge that there is always room for improvement, we also observe significant progress in the above-mentioned fields, which is confirmed within the McLaren’s report following the extensive work completed by his team on site at this specific competition.
The newly formed IBA has moved away from the issues of the past. The organization has a new democratically elected Board of Directors, and it is a totally new entity. Fairness and transparency are words that are often used in the daily working environment of IBA. Integrity remains pivotal to our work and those adopted core values that we owe to our athletes and coaches. We remain at their disposal 24/7 in ensuring that the IBA vision is communicated globally; laying down the foundations of good sporting and ethical practice remains at the heart of our global work.
Governance Reform Group (GRG) has fulfilled its mandate, and IBA thanks Professor Haas and his team for recommending all necessary governance reforms and monitoring. IBA is committed to the best governance practices and to following all GRG recommendations and completing the reforms process. The forthcoming congress will dispel the myth and all doubts over IBA’s commitment to good governance.
IBA is confident that it has implemented the vast majority of the recommended reforms. Whilst the remainder are work in progress, the largest aspects of this work have been completed. We believe that the IOC is not well-informed regarding the current financial state of IBA, but we remain open to any request for shared information. IBA has no concerns about the work in this space, but like all evolving organizations, we continue to strive for better in everything that we do. Note that the staff restructure of the Lausanne office was a necessary process for its continued smooth operation moving forward; an effective working environment with sound structure will ensure the smooth and efficient delivery of our KPIs.
‘A look forward to’ is the excellent work on an independent marketing program that will be announced very shortly; we have agreements made with two main sponsors. Further good news stories; a new competition system, with the World Boxing Tour, commencing in mid-October in Maribor. We have also secured World Championships hosts for 2023.