Lausanne, Switzerland –The International Boxing Association (IBA) considers the IOC Executive Board (EB) recommendation to withdraw IBA’s recognition truly abhorrent and purely political, as all the efforts undertaken by the IBA, with its democratically elected leadership constituting the international of boxing during last two years were largely ignored and not taken into consideration by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The recommendation of the IOC EB does not reflect the reality of the situation where extraordinary progress on reforms and internationally recognized standards of good governance have been implemented under the guidance and supervision of Professor Dr Ulrich Haas’ Governance Reform Group and backed up by comprehensive investigation of the past conducted by Professor Richard McLaren’s team. These positive steps for the organization have been commended by boxers and stakeholders at the heart of the sport around the globe.
The IBA as the home of boxing reserves its right to take retaliatory measures, as the organization in its current state will never acknowledge the assertion that IBA is not compliant with the standards of good governance or that IBA does not deserve its place at the Olympic movement. In addition, IBA strongly denies all allegations that it has put the reputation of the Olympic movement in jeopardy but has rather respected the IOC’s recommendations and followed them.
IBA President Umar Kremlev said, ‘From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long.’
‘We have made the International Boxing Association new, transparent, clean, and our successes were publicly acknowledged by international independent experts and there is only one organization that has no interest in recognizing our tremendous progress. For four years, the IBA has not received a single opportunity to present its achievements at an in-person meeting with the IOC, rather than only exchanging letters and emails instead. We accepted the process and the rules, but in the end, we were not assessed fairly. Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court.’
‘This is watershed moment for not just IBA but for all International Federations (IFs), as what it is taking place now is a litmus test to gauge the level of apathy within IFs and the Olympic movement. Strong, autonomous, and financially independent IFs should be keenly aware and concerned as they are witnessing the time tested political and strategic tool of orchestrated coups for the sake of regime change, leaving only one winner, the organization seeking absolute power, and many losers consisting mainly the athletes. Today this happens to IBA and becomes a precedent for others, so everybody should be concerned about the unchecked power of the body that has no limits.’
IBA Secretary General and CEO George Yerolimpos added, ‘The IBA has done the work necessary to regain its recognition, and we have continually requested the opportunity to meet and discuss the matters to no avail. An invitation to meet the IBA Adhoc Communication Committee composed of representatives from all continents including the five Presidents of IBA’s Confederations to allow for balanced representation was declined for reasons that can be only interpreted as stonewalling the opportunity for open dialogue between our two organizations.’
‘The IBA should be commended for its repeated attempts to work with the IOC to find a solution in our fight to oversee Olympic boxing alongside our World Boxing Championships and other world-class IBA competitions and we will continue to explore options with the IOC in a spirit of open dialogue.’
‘The IBA remains the home of boxing and we now move forward as an organization dedicated to the health of the forest not just one tree which only represents participation for 248 boxers every four years,’ Mr Yerolimpos went on to say.
In addition, the IOC must comply with the Olympic Charter when deciding to withdraw IBA’s recognition. In April this year, the IBA requested the IOC specify which rule, article and/or paragraph of the Olympic Charter, the World Anti-Doping Code, the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions, any other decision, or applicable regulation issued by the IOC has been violated by IBA to no IOC response. Further to that, no rule of the above-mentioned law was named by the IOC as a legal ground to withdraw full recognition of the IBA.
The IBA will inform its members about its further steps in due course.