World Boxing, the rebel organization launched in mid-April in a bid to save the sport’s Olympic future, is set to add two new members to its interim executive board.
The body has taken this decision following its most recent board meeting, on June 15, and also announced a decision to establish both a technical sport committee and a marketing and commercial development committee. National federations have been asked to nominate candidates for the two new executive boards, with the new members to be announced in July.
In addition, the meeting reported that World Boxing is “currently processing a series of membership applications from national federations.”
The body – implacably opposed to the embattled International Boxing Association (IBA) – confirmed it had “experienced a significant increase” in these inquiries since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to recommend that its Session withdraw the IBA’s membership. The boxing federations of Switzerland and the US have so far decided to withdraw their membership of the IBA in order to join World Boxing.
World Boxing has said representatives will be present at the multi-sport European Games in Poland (starting today, June 21), where they will host meetings “with national federations that have expressed an interest in becoming a member.”
The marketing and commercial development committee is made up of four people with “expertise in marketing and branding, sponsorship, sports administration, and business development.” The technical sport committee will eventually comprise 13 members, with eight confirmed so far.
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Yesterday (June 20), the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed an urgent request by the IBA to stay the IOC executive board’s decision.
As such, the aforementioned IOC Session will proceed tomorrow (June 22) as planned.
The decision to recommend withdrawal of the IBA’s IOC membership was taken following a detailed report of the boxing organization’s failure to comply with various IOC requests and recommendations over the last few years. The body was initially suspended in 2019.
The report specifically 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 said soon after that it would submit an appeal to CAS, which was registered late last week.
In its report, the IOC concluded that “despite the various chances given to the IBA … [It] 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, it is expected that boxing will stay on the program for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, with the IOC overseeing events as it did in Tokyo two years ago.
The IOC’s impending withdrawal of membership from the IBA has seen the relationship between the two bodies plumb new depths.
In a statement made yesterday, the IOC moved to condemn “the violent and threatening language” used by the IBA president, Russia’s Umar Kremlev, during a continental forum of the American Boxing Confederation in Brazil.
Kremlev said, in regard to former IBA president CK Wu (who has now been banned for life by the organization for financial mismanagement), that he is “a bad person” and suggested he should be shot.
Wu was an IOC member between 1988 and 2020.
Now, the IOC has commented: "Incitement of hatred and derogatory language against individuals working for the IOC, who are simply carrying out their professional roles, and against the IOC as an organization, is simply unacceptable. Making accusations against them that they are “covering up crimes” is highly defamatory.
“Furthermore, calling for an individual formerly linked to the IOC to be “shot” is language that has no place in sport or in any normal civilized debate.
“The IOC reserves all its legal rights.”
Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images