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24 Dec, 2022 13:28

IOC plan to remove boxing from Olympics is anti-Russia bias – IBA chief

Boxing may not feature at the Paris Games in 2024
IOC plan to remove boxing from Olympics is anti-Russia bias – IBA chief

Umar Kremlev, the Russian who heads the International Boxing Association (IBA), says that plans by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove boxing from the Paris Olympics in 2024 represent the latest move in a campaign of manipulating athletes and sports for geopolitical purposes.

Kremlev also claims that the IOC is attempting to undermine the leadership of the IBA

The IBA made the suggestion in a letter distributed to its various national federations after it was revealed that the IOC is considering removing the sport from the Paris 2024 schedule.

The document was signed by Kremlev and secretary-general George Yerolimpos.

It is not with joy or pleasure that we write to you today as many of our member nations head into their holiday season,” the letter reads.

However, it is imperative that we address the latest attack on IBA’s athletes and IBA by the IOC for the new leadership’s continued commitment to becoming a sound and independent organization, purged of prior governance issues and ultimately a financially independent, sustainable organisation.

At the recent Global Boxing Forum in Abu Dhabi, you denounced the divide-and-conquer approach of the IOC.

We have always worked, and will continue to, in the best interests of National Federations, athletes and coaches, and it is crystal clear that our stakeholders and boxing family will continue to be united.

The Olympic Games are a global sporting asset that belongs to the athletes of all sports and cannot be a tool of extortion of the International Sports Federations for purely political reasons, as is unacceptably happening now.

With that, IBA will continue to fight for its athletes to make sure you have every opportunity and equal right to participate in the Olympic Games, free from discrimination and separate from the politics of sport which has now become the normalized approach.”

The motivation for IOC’s potential ban on boxing is understood to be linked to a sponsorship deal the IBA signed with Russian energy giant Gazprom, though Kremlev has suggested that the measures are also being considered due to his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

IOC president Thomas Bach, however, has denied reports that Olympic chiefs are refusing to deal with the IBA so long as Kremlev remains in charge – though Kremlev added in the letter that he suspects that persecution of boxers will continue until there is a change in leadership.

It is clear, that the persecution of IBA athletes will continue until ultimate control of boxing and its leadership has been achieved,” the letter from Kremlev and Yerolimpos added.

The discrimination against you and IBA’s leadership and partners, based on citizenship, directly contradicts the Olympic Charter and only highlights the issue of athletes and sport being manipulated for geopolitical purposes.”