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Boxing gets Paris Olympics green light but will be run by IOC after IBA barred from involvement


Kellie Harrington won Olympic gold last summer

Kellie Harrington won Olympic gold last summer

Kellie Harrington won Olympic gold last summer

Boxing will definitely be part of the Paris Olympics in just over two years’ time.

But the 2024 tournament and qualification competitions will be run by the International Olympic Committee as was the case at the Tokyo Games last year.

The troubled International Boxing Association has again been denied any involvement in the process.

The long-term future of boxing at the Games remains in doubt, however. It hasn’t been includes in the programme for the Los Angeles Games.

IOC sports director Kit McConnell said the position of boxing at the 2028 Games will be discussed at a later date.

“The IOC felt enough was enough and in the interest of the boxing community, the boxing qualifying events and competition will not be run under the authority of the IBA. This decision is centred on the athletes and the need for certainty leading up to Paris in 2024,” he told a press conference.

He added that the IOC will now finalise alternative models for the organisation of the boxing competitions, working closely with the Paris 2024 Organising committee and athletes’ representatives.

“The outcome of these discussions and suggested recommendations will then be presented to the IOC Executive Board in due course.”

McConnell said it was too early to comment on whether the IOC Task Force would use the same format for Olympic qualification as for the Tokyo Games or whether they would review the controversial weight divisions which had been proposed by the IBA.

In a statement the IOC reiterated the continuing concerns they had around the governance of the IBA, including the refereeing and judging process and its financial dependency on the Russian state-owned Gazprom company.

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The indications are the final straw for the IOC was the recent controversy over the IBA Presidential election.

In their statement the IOC noted that the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on June that the decision of the IBA Interim Nomination Unit, which had deemed the presidential candidate Boris van der Worst and three other electoral candidates ineligible for election the day prior to the scheduled IBA elections, had been overturned.

The CAS arbitrator accepted the request that they be reinstated as eligible candidates.

“Furthermore, CAS stated that Umar Kremlev had committed the same rule violation yet had been admitted to the election as the sole candidate.

“With regard to the planned IBA qualification pathway to Paris 2024, the IOC Executive Board noted that no host-city agreements had been signed for the qualification competitions and that there was an insufficient number of certified referees and judges to deliver the planned events,” said the statement.

The IOC originally suspected the then named AIBA following an investigation in 2019.

Tonight’s development is good news for Irish boxers including defending Olympic champion Kellie Harrington who is hoping to compete in Paris in 2024.

But the long-term future of the sport in the Olympics remains in doubt.

Meanwhile, the beleaguered IBA has agreed to hold a second extraordinary Congress this year where delegates will decide on whether to hold a new Presidential election.

Coincidentally the IBA’s new Board of Directors were meeting at the same time as the Executive Committee of the IOC decided unanimously to strip the IBA of any involvement in the Olympic boxing tournament in Paris.

The IBA decided on legal advice to hold an extraordinary congress between September 24 and October at which only two items will be discussed: a motion to hold a second Presidential election and the election itself which will be contested by the current President Umar Kremlev and Boris van der Vorst.

At the end of their meeting the directors were informed of the IOC decision.

“With the IBA Board having been elected only last month and with key elements of the Olympic qualification system having been approved today, as previous indicated to the IOC, IBA is deeply disappointed by the IOC’s decision and will now take some time to carefully consider its next steps.

“Meanwhile, IBA will continue to work on reforming its governance, financial integrity and sporting integrity to ensure boxers and IBA itself can enjoy a fair chance and a fair fight,” according to a statement.

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