— Published 20 March 2023

Referees taken hostage

The arm wrestling continues between the International Boxing Federation (IBA) and the IOC. After announcing its decision to set up its own qualification process for the Paris 2024 Games, the body chaired by the Russian Umar Kremlev strikes a new blow by threatening sanctions against referees and boxing judges who would participate in qualifying events organized by the IOC task force. A decision condemned without nuance by the International Federation of Sports Officials (IFSO). In a press release published over the weekend, its president, the Frenchman Patrick Vajda, explains: “Once again, we are attacking those who have no way to defend themselves, and who today find themselves in a very uncomfortable position, even impossible to manage (…) The World Championships of women’s boxing (…) will not count for the Olympic qualification, not more than the other events organized by the IBA until the Paris 2024 Games. But nobody cares about the judges and referees who also have to train and practice refereeing at the highest level. Today, severe threats are hanging over them. IFSO condemns this political decision of the IBA which unjustly punishes international referees and their possibility to develop in their officiating career.