The International Boxing Association (IBA) has removed Greece's George Yerolimpos as its secretary general and chief executive and replaced him on an interim basis with Chris Roberts.
Yerolimpos’ forced departure, announced yesterday (June 19), comes as boxing’s embattled governing body faces up to having its removal as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) federation confirmed later this week.
It has been reported that an email ballot on Friday among the IBA hierarchy (June 16) resulted in a 15 to 1 decision to remove Yerolimpos from his responsibilities, which he had only held since September last year.
Roberts previously served as the IBA’s development director, taking up that position last July.
He said: “The IBA is going through transitional times, and it is a great responsibility and honor for me to take on the position to invest in the boxing family with my time, experience, passion, and know-how.
“Having dedicated my whole life to boxing, I am looking forward to delivering more exciting events together with the IBA team and expanding the reach of boxing to every corner of the world.
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“By being united and pursuing the same goal, we can make even more for our beloved sport.”
The IBA said it “extends its appreciation to Mr. Yerolimpos for his dedication and tireless efforts during his tenure and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.”
A former officer in the British army for 30 years, Roberts then became chief executive of Boxing Scotland and also served on the board of GB Boxing.
During his time at the IBA, he has headed up the referee and judges committee.
An Extraordinary IOC Session on Thursday (June 22) is expected to confirm the recommendation of the IOC executive board that the IBA has its membership withdrawn.
An IOC report on the general situation at the IBA earlier this month claimed that relationships between the two bodies worsened significantly following Yerolimpos’ first few months in office in late 2022.
The report said that the IBA displayed “open intimidation towards the IOC” during the final months of last year.
Yerolimpos took over from István Kovács last July, with the latter’s departure having been criticized by the IOC.
The IOC’s move to withdraw the IBA’s membership effectively ends the body’s hopes of managing its own sport’s events at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The IOC report also recommended that “the IBA should not organize the Olympic Games LA28 boxing tournament,” claiming that serious issues around governance, financial affairs, and refereeing and judging have not been satisfactorily addressed.
In response, the IBA called the IOC’s move “truly abhorrent and purely political” and has now formally lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The report claimed in great detail that IBA “has failed to fulfill the conditions set by the IOC in its decision communicated to the IBA on December 9, 2021 – which was not challenged – for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”
Boxing’s governing body has been suspended by the IOC since June 2019.
The December 2021 decision mentioned above was for that suspension to be extended, and for specific requirements to be laid down, which the IBA would have to implement in order to be readmitted in 2023.
In its report, the IOC concluded that “despite the various chances given to IBA … The IBA was unable to provide the elements which would have allowed the lifting of its suspension.
“The situation has become so serious that the only proportional conclusion is to withdraw the IOC’s recognition of IBA pursuant to the Olympic Charter.”
However, the IOC has recommended to the next Session that despite the looming withdrawal, boxing should be kept on the sports program for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
A decision by CAS will be made on or before June 21.
Waiting in the wings, meanwhile, is the rebel organization World Boxing, which was set up in mid-April.