International Boxing Association to face Olympic expulsion by IOC later this month

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Executive Board (EB) decided Wednesday to recommend members vote to remove the Olympic credentials of the International Boxing Association (IBA). The expected rubberstamping of the EB’s decision will occur during an Extraordinary IOC Session that will convene June 22 in conjunction with the quarterly Executive Board meeting.

Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzlerland (IOC Photo)
Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland (IOC Photo)

The decision is based on a report published June 2 that concluded the IBA failed to meet critical requirements set out by the IOC in a series of previous meetings.

The 24-page report said “the situation has become so serious that the only proportional conclusion is to withdraw the IOC’s recognition of the IBA pursuant to the Olympic Charter.”

It further found “the IBA has not addressed to the satisfaction of the IOC the ongoing concerns around its governance, financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes” and as a consequence “…the IBA should not organise the Olympic Games LA28 boxing tournament.

But the EB assured boxing will still feature on the Paris 2024 Olympic program in a tournament organized with oversight by the IOC, just as it was at the Tokyo 2020 Games. It is also likely the sport will appear at LA 2028, and ongoing, under a new governance.

IBA (then known as AIBA) had its IOC recognition suspended on June 19, 2019 following a notable deterioration of governance in its organization, but the IOC set a clear path for reinstatement should the IBA comply with a set of requests. The organization has since failed to do so, the report said.

Removing official recognition of an international sport federation is an extremely unusual move by the IOC, reflecting the severity of the IBA’s deficiencies.

Earlier this year the IBA was criticized for staging boxing tournaments including Russian and Belarussian athletes competing with their own flags and anthems – a situation the IOC has strongly recommended against since the start of the Ukraine invasion last year.

While the IBA struggled with compliance a new organization, World Boxing, emerged with the apparent intention to fill the gap left by the suspension. Several national boxing federations have already joined World Boxing, including USA Boxing, with others announcing intentions to do so. The IBA has punished federations that have shown support for the new body by handing out suspensions of its own.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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