IBA fact-based response to the IOC statement
December 8th, 2022 / IBA
The International Boxing Association (IBA) notes that it has been dealing with significant governance issues, which are, in fact, a burden from the past leadership, namely, former President of AIBA, Ching-Kuo Wu, who was an IOC member since 1988, an IOC EB member, and an IOC Presidential candidate in 2013.
Corruption, manipulation on the field of play, and mismanagement are to name a few amongst the tainted legacy that had been left by Wu’s regime for the current leadership. These past actions have all played a part in the multimillion-dollar debt that threatened the financial sustainability and future of the organization.
We continue to be punished for a culture of corruption that was created and nourished by some of the individuals from the IOC’s upper echelon. This culture of corruption was developed over time and fixing it will take time to be done right, which has been ongoing for more than 2 years.
Analyzing the source of all problems of the past, it becomes clear that the IOC member CK Wu have caused these issues in the boxing governing body. For two years, IBA has been fighting with the system orchestrated by CK Wu and his team, trying to clean the house and bring boxing back to greatness it deserves. Now, boxing is under a direct attack, and all IBA stakeholders, its athletes, are ready to stand and defend boxing.
We will not accept this artificial divide and conquer rhetoric that somehow the IBA and the athletes are separate, it is simply not true and any attack on the IBA is a direct attack on the stakeholders of our sport, the athletes. Sanctions towards IBA are sanctions against its boxers, as we are inseparable. There is a unity inside the IBA Family, and athletes clearly support how their sport’s governing body is improving.
IBA would like to address each ‘areas of concern’ mentioned.
Governance*. The group of the Prof. Dr. Ulrich Haas was invited to implement the best governance practices in IBA, and it was completed in full. IBA elected new Board of Directors and involved athletes into all processes. The IBA Constitution was amended in accordance with the highest governance standards. IBA Congress gave a credit of trust to the current leadership, which was elected democratically, whether the IOC liked the individuals or not. It highlights that the IOC has chosen not to review or acknowledge the work of Prof. Dr. Haas.
Finance. IBA closed a significant debt accumulated by CK Wu regime, and ensured sustainability for itself, as well as Confederations and National Federations. IBA has enough finance to ensure its prompt work, as well as its constant support to its stakeholders. The IOC blocked money generated by our sport and its athletes at the Olympic Games, and we had no other option but to find sponsors. The IOC creates a problem for each solution we provide. IBA has secured a new sponsor from Australia, who has signed 6-years contract with the organization. For the first time ever, IBA has allocated more than 8 million USD for the prize money during last two years. We also have secured the prize fund for both major World Championships in 2023.
Refereeing and Judging. Professor Richard McLaren has made great strides on vetting IBA’s officials, and it’s proven by the best international expert that IBA’s sporting integrity is achieved. There weren’t any Referees and Judges (R&Js) mistakes at any of the IBA World Boxing Championships and other IBA sanctioned events, as the best referees and judges were involved. The IOC has received all these reports and we eagerly await their acknowledgement of these reports by Professor McLaren’s team.
Denying the fact of IBA’s significant progress is simply an egregious error in not acknowledging the truth of the matter. IBA is not creating a PR picture that does not exist; in fact, we are simply communicating our progress and steps towards it. Not acknowledging it, raises the fair question of why. All the IOC criticism is done in a manner to discredit the leading experts who have worked on the previous reports and investigations within the Olympic movement, which is deplorable.
We are now forced to publicly ask for details on what governance shortfalls will quench the IOC’s continued thirst to persecute our organization and its athletes. In fact, the Olympic Charter** doesn’t read that person’s nationality should stop them from being able to democratically serve their organization. Values and human rights are not an “á la carte” option where we pick and choose who gets and who doesn’t get them.
IBA is open for dialogue and guidance and reiterates its full support for its athletes and coaches, as well as National Federations. We have built a foundation for a stable future, and we are going to continue making every effort to ensure that our athletes have a home in our boxing family and the Olympic Games.
These are IBA’s facts. IBA is looking forward to receiving the facts from the IOC in terms of what has not been achieved by IBA in order to avoid any ambiguity in the IOC’s PR.
You can read the full statement here.
*You can read complete information about the IBA Governance Reforms below:
June 2021. IBA Board decided to appoint an independent expert group (the Governance Reform Group – “GRG”) chaired by prof. Ulrich Haas to assess IBA’s governance, to elaborate recommendations and to assist in the implementation of such recommendations. The GRG issued its recommendations to reform IBA’s governance on 15 November 2021. The Recommendations were adopted by the Board on 26 November 2021 and by the IBA Congress on 12 December 2021. As from December 2021 GRG accompanied, monitored and advised IBA on various steps to implement the Recommendations. GRG attended different IBA events, including IBA Congress in Istanbul in May 2022, and the meeting of the IBA Board. On 25 August 2022, GRG issued its report on implementation of the Recommendations, according to which most of recommendations are already implemented or in progress.
July 2021. ASOIF report ranks IBA’s governance structure prominently in Group A2. The IOC has acknowledged in its letter of 14 September 2021 that the reform process undertaken by AIBA is “a step forward in the direction of better governance, which is illustrated in the ASOIF’s survey results”.
December 2021. IBA Extraordinary Congress unanimously approved new Constitution which established legal basis for implementation of the reforms proposed by GRG.
October 2021 – May 2022. The Presidents in all 5 (five) Continental Confederations renewed. IBA Ethics Committee conducted background vetting checks of the candidates in order to ensure their compliance with eligibility criteria.
May 2022. New Board of Directors elected. 13 of 18 directors (70%) are new members of the Board. According to GRG recommendation, there is no in the current Board any Board member who made his / her career within IBA predominantly during the eras of former Presidents Ching-Kuo Wu and/or Gafur Rahimov.
January – December 2022. All candidates to the IBA governing bodies and the committees passed vetting process conducted by the BIIU Integrity Unit. The Independent Vetting Firm (Genius Sport) supported the BIIU Integrity Unit in this process, interviewing candidates, investigating their backgrounds and providing detailed report.
Board of Directors is actively involved into the governance on a permanent basis. 8 Board meetings were held in 2021, and 10 Board meetings in 2022. This is significant increasing of the number of meetings comparing to previous years, e.g. from 2008 till 2017 there was only 1 meeting per each year, 6 in 2019 and 3 in 2020. Only in crisis 2018 year (when the organization made a lot of attempts to retire the President Gafur Rahimov) the IBA had comparable number of meetings – 9.
All regulations of IBA have been renewed during 2021-2022. There is not any regulation in force from the past.
Independent observers attend IBA Congresses. In May 2022 GRG representative presented at the Extraordinary Elective Congress in Istanbul, and in September 2022 Prof. McLaren presented at the Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan.
** The Olympic Charter
Needless to say, if any decision is indeed motivated by issues with individuals, it would then go against the Olympic Charter, whose fundamental principles 5 and 6 state that:
“5. Recognising that sport occurs within the framework of society, sports organisations within the Olympic Movement shall apply political neutrality (…) determining the structure and governance of their organisations (…)” and
“6. The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Besides, pursuant to article 2.5 provides that: “(…). The IOC’s role is: (…) to take action to strengthen the unity of the Olympic Movement, to protect its independence, to maintain and promote its political neutrality and to preserve the autonomy of sport.”