Why boxing could be dropped from the 2024 Paris Olympics

KEY POINTS
  • The International Olympic Committee says the Russian-led world boxing body has “no interest” in the sport.
  • Boxing is not on the initial program for the 2028 Games and could be dropped from the 2024 Games.
  • Earlier this month, the International Boxing Association accused Olympic organizers of ‚Äúpersecution.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned that boxing should be excluded from the 2024 Paris Games as its Russian-led world body has “no real interest” in the sport.
The International Boxing Association (IBA) was stripped of participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and boxing is not on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games, pending reforms demanded by the IOC.

The IOC organizes qualification for the Paris 2024 boxing tournament, but said on Thursday that concerns about the IBA mean it will make more decisions that “may have to include canceling boxing for at the 2024 Paris Olympics”.

“The recent IBA Congress has shown once again that the IBA has no real interest in the sport of boxing and the boxers, but is only interested in its own power,” said a spokesman for the IOC
“The decisions and discussions to keep boxers away from the Olympic qualifiers and the Olympic Games cannot be understood in any other way.”
The IBA is run by Russia’s Umar Kremlev, with the backing of Russian energy firm Gazprom. The IOC spokesman said the IBA extending its deal with Gazprom recently showed it was “unwilling to understand the real issues”.

“The extension of the sponsorship contract with Gazprom as the sole main sponsor of the IBA reinforces the concerns that the IOC has expressed time and again since 2019,” the spokesman added.

Headquarters of the Russian energy company Gazprom

Russian energy company Gazprom is the only major sponsor of the International Boxing Association. Source: AAP / Anatoly Maltsev

“This announcement confirms that IBA will continue to be dependent on a company largely controlled by the Russian government.”

An extraordinary congress of the IBA in September voted against the holding of new elections, which allowed Mr. Kremlev remains president, after a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that Dutch candidate Boris van der Vorst was wrongly barred from running.
The spokesman said the IOC’s concerns included the handling of the CAS decision.
“The IOC will have to take this into account when making further decisions, which may have to include, following these latest events, the cancellation of boxing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

Earlier this month, the IBA accused Olympic organizers of “persecution” in response to its suspension over governance and finance issues.

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