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International Olympic Committee members appear on a giant screen in Lausanne on Thursday, during an extraordinary hybrid IOC Session to vote to withdraw its recognition of the IBA. Image Credit: AFP

Lausanne: The International Olympic Committee on Thursday withdrew its recognition of boxing’s governing body, the IBA, but said the sport would be on the programme at the 2024 and 2028 Games in Paris and Los Angeles.

The IOC executive board voted by 69 votes to one, with 10 abstentions, to expel the International Boxing Association (IBA) from the Olympic Movement in a seismic move for the sport.

The IOC’s decision brings to an end four years of sparring between the Olympic body and the under-fire custodians of a sport that has appeared at every Games since 1904.

Multiple corrumption scandals

The IBA was suspended by the IOC in 2019 for multiple corruption scandals.

The IBA, whose president is Umar Kremlev of Russia, has also come under attack for its governance, financial transparency and sustainability.

“The IOC has constantly and patiently tried to help in the three areas of concern,” IOC director general Christophe De Kepper said at the IOC session in Lausanne.

IBA fails to provide elements

“There has been a constant lack of drastic revolution throughout the many years. It is a situation of no return.”

De Kepper added: “The IBA was unable to provide the elements to allow the lifting of its suspension.

“It is not possible to reach any other conclusion than agree with the IOC’s analysis. The only conclusion is to withdraw recognition.”

Olympic place guaranteed

The IOC has put in place the ‘Paris Boxing Unit’ to ensure qualification and hosting of the sport at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

De Kepper said he “guarantees” boxing will also be on programme for the Los Angeles Games in 2028.

IOC chief Thomas Bach, shortly before introducing De Kepper, told the session that “we have an extremely serious problem with the IBA”.

“We do not have a problem with boxing. We do not have a problem with boxers,” Bach said.

Extremely serious problem

“If we had a problem with boxers there would not have been a competition in Tokyo. There would be no boxing competition in Paris.”

Bach added: “We highly value the sport of boxing but unfortunately we have an extremely serious problem with the IBA because of their governance.

“Because we value the sport of boxing so much, we believe the boxers fully deserve to be governed by an international federation with integrity and transparency.”

The IBA’s major backer has been Russian energy giant Gazprom in a deal worth a reported $50 million.

Boycotting event

The IBA, in contrast to many other international sports bodies, continue to allow athletes from Russia and its political ally Belarus to compete under their own flags despite last year’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Women’s World Boxing Championships in India last month went ahead with several nations boycotting the event because of the IBA’s policy.

Boxing only went ahead in the Covid-delayed Tokyo Olympics after the IOC stepped in to ensure the qualification criteria.