Boxing’s inclusion beyond 2024 Olympics doubtful as controversial Umar Kremlev remains IBA chief

International Boxing Association (IBA) extraordinary congress sees delegates votes in 106 out of a possible 155 in favour of no presidential election while allowing Umar Kremlev to continue as the chief. The decision could force a ban on the body by International Olympic Committee (IOC).

FP Sports September 25, 2022 19:18:56 IST
Boxing’s inclusion beyond 2024 Olympics doubtful as controversial Umar Kremlev remains IBA chief

Umar Kremlev (far left) during IBA extraordinary congress in Yerevan, Armenia on Sunday. IBA

Russia’s Umar Kremlev will continue to serve as the president of the International Boxing Association (IBA) after the body’s members rejected the proposal of staging a new election during the extraordinary congress in Yerevan (Armenia) on Sunday.

The decision could put boxing’s inclusion in the Olympics beyond 2024 in jeopardy as IBA was stripped of its status as the host of boxing events at the Games since the Tokyo edition. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintained the same for 2024 over IBA’s governance, finance, refereeing and ethical issues. Boxing may not be part of 2028 Los Angeles as it is not included by IOC in the initial programme.

However, that seems to worry the IBA members a little as 106 delegates out of a possible 155 voted against presidential re-election despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) allowed Kremlev’s Dutch rival Boris Van der Vorst as an eligible candidate. The Dutch had 36 votes in his favour while four candidates abstained from voting at the extraordinary congress, which was also delayed by an hour due to power failure.

The faction war at IBA turned ugly back in May when Van der Vorst was declared ineligible for president election while allowing Kremlev to be the chief of the body uncontested. Van der Vorst, however, received a clean chit from CAS in a month’s time as the Court ruled that the Dutch was wrongly prevented from standing for the election.

While the extraordinary congress was eagerly awaited if IBA will finally mend its way, further drama unfolded two days before the meeting as the Ukrainian boxing federation (FBU) was suspended by IBA. The apex body took the decision after  FBU called for Kremlev’s resignation or to be voted out of office. The call effectively made Ukraine ineligible from voting in the congress.

Earlier, USA boxing federation senior official stressed that not holding an election may be the end of IBA after CAS’s ruling in March.

“It will be the end of IBA if we do not have an election, considering CAS ruled that we were all wrongfully removed and Boris was wrongfully removed,” USA Boxing executive director Mike McAtee told Reuters by telephone from Yerevan.

“It is my belief that if there is not an election, IBA will be permanently suspended or just removed by the IOC.”

A reaction from the Olympic body is awaited on the matter.

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