— Published 28 March 2023

IBA threatens IOC with legal action

The arm wrestling continues between the International Boxing Federation (IBA) and the IOC. The day after the Women’s World Championships in New Delhi (India), where Russian and Belarusian boxers were allowed to fight under their colors, the body chaired by the Russian Umar Kremlev (pictured above) went on the offensive again. It sent a very long open letter to Thomas Bach, the IOC president, and to the other members of the executive board. Unsurprisingly, the letter is not a request for a truce or appeasement. It details the IBA’s “deep concerns regarding basic IOC governance, impartiality, and transparency principles.” Top of the list is the protection of competition officials’ personal and confidential data. The IBA openly criticizes the IOC for having obtained them without respecting the rules of confidentiality, nor prior approval or communication. A subject that is all the more sensitive because the IBA has threatened sanctions against international referees and judges who would participate in the qualifications, and then the tournament, of the Paris 2024 Games organized by the IOC boxing unit. “Considering that the IBA has not shared any Competition Officials’ contact details with the IOC after Tokyo 2020, it is clear that either the IOC has obtained these contacts unlawfully or has breached the Agreement,” insists the boxing body’s open letter. With the latter being more serious considering that the IBA Head Office received numerous complaints from our Competition Officials about this unsolicited communication from the IOC.” In its open letter, the IBA explains that it is considering legal action against the IOC. It also calls for the exclusion of Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, the IOC’s head of ethics and compliance, from all relations with the IBA. “In the absence of Ms Zappelli the IBA has proposed that the main point of contact with the IOC be the Director General, Mr De Kepper, or another senior level independent person proposed by the IOC, who must be independent from CK Wu (the former president of the international federation) and/ or AIBA’ management of that period,” the document continues.