Big changes in amateur boxing as the sport faces elimination from Los Angeles Games

Published on Dec 13, 2021 09:05 PM IST

IBA president vows transparency, new constitution, and rigorous punishment for corrupt judges after independent probe establishes institutional malaise

Big changes in amateur boxing as the sport faces elimination from Los Angeles Games(Getty Images)
Big changes in amateur boxing as the sport faces elimination from Los Angeles Games(Getty Images)

Boxing’s global governing body has vowed to ensure transparency and honesty, and an unequivocal crackdown on corrupt referees and judges (R&Js) as the sport’s future at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028 continues to remain clouded. The body, hitherto known as AIBA, has also rechristened itself as IBA (International Boxing Association) following a unanimous vote at the Extraordinary Congress (EC) held on Sunday.

Addressing a virtual media conference, IBA president Umar Kremlev said that the referees and judges found guilty of corruption and wrongdoing will be served “lifelong disqualification,” including ban from attending boxing bouts as spectators.

“We won’t tolerate corruption at any cost, and we don’t want such people in our sport in any capacity,” Kremlev said.

“We will also launch a recertification process for referees and judges, and if there is any evidence of wrongdoing, the said R&Js will not be part of boxing forever,” he added.

IBA, already reeling under the damning findings of Professor Richard McLaren’s two reports that establish manipulation of results at the Rio Olympics as well as institutional rot, has also promised to ammend its constitution.

The decision follows EC’s approval of the recommendations made in a report by independent Governance Reform Group (GRG), led by Professor Ulrich Haas.

“Yes, we will reform our constitution. We have taken Professor Haas’ suggestions very seriously and we aim to update and review our systems. A number of changes have already been approved,” Kremlev said without getting into the specifics.

IBA has also decided to form a Boxing Independent Integrity Unit, set to become operational next year. The Board of Directors will also be reduced from 28 members to 18, following elections which will be held by June-end in 2022.

“There will be extensive independent eligibility checks for all candidates. There will be changes in IBA’s Board of Directors as well. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has pointed out three issues for us – financial, reforms in R&J system, and governance. We have addressed the first two at the EC, and the governance reforms will happen before June 30, 2022,” Kremlev explained.

The IBA chief added that there will be no reallocation of medals for bouts deemed fixed or manipulated at the Rio Games.

“That’s a decision that the IOC has to make,” he said.


    Shantanu Srivastava is an experienced sports journalist who has worked across print and digital media. He covers cricket and Olympic sports.

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