Olympics-International Boxing Association is stripped of its recognition-IOC

FILE PHOTO: International Boxing Association(IBA) president Umar Kremlev reacts as he speaks to media at the opening ceremony of Women's World Boxing Championships at Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium in New Delhi, India, March 15, 2023. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) -The International Boxing Association's (IBA) recognition as the global body for the sport was stripped on Thursday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to its failure to complete reforms on governance, finance and ethical issues.

The IOC's extraordinary session, held online on Thursday, rubber-stamped an executive board recommendation by 69 votes to one to withdraw the IBA's recognition.

The IBA, which called the decision "a tremendous error", had tried to have it blocked through an urgent appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sport's highest court, which rejected the appeal on Tuesday.

The IOC had previously suspended the IBA in 2019 over governance, finance, refereeing and ethical issues and did not involve it in running the boxing events at the Tokyo Olympics.

Boxing is part of the Paris 2024 Olympics but the qualification bouts and the competition are being run by the IOC and not the IBA, as was the case at the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Other issues such as a sponsorship deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom that was terminated in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine further complicated the position of the IBA, which is led by Russian businessman Umar Kremlev.

"The IOC has made a tremendous error by withdrawing its recognition of the IBA, revealing its true politicized nature," the IBA said in a statement. "We have successfully implemented all recommendations outlined by the IOC in its roadmap."

"Despite the challenges, the IBA remains committed to the development of boxing, the preservation of its independence, and the organization of official tournaments and World Boxing Championships at the highest level."

"We possess the legal right to do so, and we are prepared to defend it before any appropriate authority," the IBA said.

While the IOC regularly removes or adds sports to the Olympic Games programme to make them more attractive to younger audiences, it is extremely rare for the Olympic body to strip an international sports federation's recognition.

The IBA's actions have led to the creation of a breakaway group called World Boxing and several countries have left the IBA to join the new organisation.

"This is a hugely significant moment for the sport," World Boxing said in a statement.

"All national boxing federations now have a critically important decision to make if they want boxers from their country to have the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games at Los Angeles and beyond," it said.

"We urge every national federation ... to join and support World Boxing in its efforts to ensure boxing remains at the heart of the Olympic movement."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Jon Boyle, Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)

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