The International Olympic Committee executive board on Wednesday (June 7), recommended withdrawing recognition of the International Boxing Association (IBA) over its failure to meet a set of reforms, the Olympic body said in a statement.
The IOC has also decided to have the sport as part of the Olympic Games programme at Los Angeles 2028, which was confirmed in a decision proposal, seen by Reuters.
The IOC suspended the IBA in 2019 over governance, finance, refereeing and ethical issues and did not involve it in running the boxing events at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
It had also provisionally excluded the sport from the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
But the IOC executive board’s decision proposal, which was approved by the members, says that the Los Angeles 2028 boxing competition should not be run by the IBA, confirming the Olympic body’s decision to include boxing in those Games in five year’s time.
“As an additional consequence of the decision above, the IOC Executive Board recommends to the IOC Session to decide that the IBA should not organise the Olympic Games LA28 boxing tournament,” the IOC’s decision proposal said.
The decision now only needs the rubber-stamping of an extraordinary IOC session, to be held remotely and set for June 22.
The IOC has in the past removed from or included new sports in the Olympic Games programme, in order to refresh the Games and make the competitions more relevant to younger audiences.
However, stripping the recognition of a sports federation is extremely unusual.
“This decision is based on the IOC Comprehensive Report on the Situation of the IBA dated 2 June 2023, which the IOC Executive Board discussed and approved today,” the IOC said in a statement.
“The report establishes that the IBA has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC… for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”
The IBA hit back with a statement threatening “retaliatory measures” and decrying the move as “truly abhorrent and purely political”.
It said its efforts had been largely ignored and not taken into consideration by the IOC.
“We accepted the process and the rules, but in the end, we were not assessed fairly. Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” said IBA president Umar Kremlev.
The Russian said it was a “watershed moment” for all international federations and warned stripping the IBA’s recognition could set a precedent for others.
Boxing is part of the Paris 2024 Olympics but the qualifications and the competition are being run by the IOC and not by the IBA, as was the case for the Tokyo 2021 Games.
In an IBA report sent to the IOC recently, the association blamed the Olympic body for intransigence and false statements.
But the IOC had repeatedly warned the IBA, whose head since 2020 is Russian businessman Kremlev, that it had not done enough.
Other issues such as a sponsorship deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom that has since been terminated further complicated the IBA’s position, with Russia invading Ukraine last year.
The IBA’s actions have led to the creation of a breakaway group called World Boxing recently with several countries having left the IBA to join the new organisation.
The Swiss Boxing Federation last week became the latest national ruling body of the sport to leave IBA and join the rival boxing organisation.
The newly formed boxing body includes the United States and Britain as well as New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden, who joined the Swiss-registered World Boxing in April.