The International Boxing Association (IBA) challenged the IOC with the publication on Monday of its own classification system for the Paris 2024 Games -which would also include Russians and Belarusians-, a competition that the Olympic body had withdrawn from the having the IBA suspended from functions since 2019 for its numerous irregularities.
"With less than 18 months to go until Paris 2024 and numerous delays by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in announcing a clear qualification process for Paris 2024, the IBA has assumed the role of boxing’s international governing body tasked with setting the path for which its athletes will qualify for Paris 2024"announced in a statement the Association chaired by the Russian Umar Kremlev.
"It is a necessary step to protect our athletes, since the qualification process proposed by the IOC is neither acceptable nor fair. Excluding the women’s and men’s world boxing championships in New Delhi and Tashkent from the qualification for Paris 2024 is not acceptable and goes against the principles of sport and boxing"adds the IBA.
The IOC agreed in June 2022 that the Paris 2024 boxing qualifying competitions "would not be carried out under the authority of the International Association"after "the continuing and very worrying problems of the IBA in its governance and its refereeing and judging system".
Last September, the IOC unveiled a new system based on direct qualification through regional multi-sport games: the Pan American Games in Santiago, the European Games in Krakow, the Pacific Games in Honiara and the Asian Games in Hanfgzhou, all in 2023.
After the continental phase of slot allocation, two world ranking tournaments will be held in 2024.
The IBA then reacted by claiming that "these late changes" would have "a significant and direct impact on the agreed competition forecast for 2022/23, not only for the IBA, but also for the confederations" continental.
He also pointed out that it was not clear how the system would be executed, nor its exact calendar nor the location of the qualifying tournaments in Africa and those on a global scale.
By assuming today the power to establish the Olympic qualification system (unanimously by all the national federations, according to the IBA statement), the federation tries to give prominence to its own world championships (the two finalists of each category) and their rankings.
According to his proposal, the Olympic qualification pathways would be: the world championships, the position in the IBA world ranking on December 31, 2023 and March 31, 2024, the results in a world qualifying tournament, the places for the country host, France, and one places to meet the criteria of universality.
In addition, the World Cups would be open to all athletes, including Russians and Belarusians, "to give everyone the right to compete without being victims of the political games of a few national federations".
"Any athlete or coach from a boycotted national federation who wants to participate in the IBA world boxing championships can apply directly"underlines the statement.
"The IBA has declared its commitment to do everything possible, including financial support through its Financial Support Program (FSP), to ensure that athletes from all national federations can fight for glory and achieve their dream of becoming world champions"Add.
This declaration comes in the midst of a debate on whether Russian and Belarusian athletes should be readmitted to international competitions and, eventually, to the Paris Games, in any case under a neutral flag. Ukraine, a country invaded by Russian troops, leads a large opposition movement.
Umar Kremlev was re-elected last year as head of the IBA in another process riddled with irregularities, in which the opposition candidate, the Dutch Boris van der Vorst, was disqualified as a candidate and later rehabilitated by the TAS, a ruling that the federal assembly ignored by refusing to repeat the elections.
This episode was one more drop in the glass of patience for the IOC, which keeps boxing on the program for the Paris 2024 Games but has not yet included it in the Los Angeles 2028 Games, waiting for the IBA to resolve its issues. issues.
"The IBA reiterates its readiness to cooperate with the IOC for the benefit of boxing, its athletes, athletes and the stability and quality of the Olympic Games as a product. But no other qualification process for Paris 2024 will be accepted by the IBA and the boxing community other than the world championships and the last open tournament in May 2024. IBA and continental ranking quotas will be used. Continental, plus three ‘Golden Series’ tournaments, to include host country and universality slots"insists the IBA statement.