— Published 6 October 2022

IBA opens door to Russian athletes

The International Boxing Federation (IBA) continues its suicide operation without a break. After the episode of the re-election of the Russian Umar Kremlev as president, it announced its decision to reinstate Russian and Belarusian boxers in international competitions. No less. The body explains in a statement that its board voted to “overturn its previous decision and allow boxers from Russia and Belarus to participate in IBA events with immediate effect.” It continued: “The IBA is convinced that politics should not influence sport. Therefore, all athletes should have equal conditions. Respecting its own autonomy as an international sports federation, the IBA will remain politically neutral and independent.” Boxers from both countries are not the only ones who can resume their international careers. The board’s decision also concerns Russian and Belarusian officials, including judges and referees, who are also allowed to participate in IBA competitions. Already very marginalised within the Olympic movement, the IBA stands out even more, a few weeks before the next IOC Executive Board meeting, where its case will be discussed once again and probably decided for good. The Olympic future of boxing seems to be hanging by a thread, even if the IOC, through the voice of Thomas Bach, admits that it is currently studying a way to bring Russian athletes back on the international scene.