The controversy surrounding the International Boxing Association is expected to escalate after it was revealed that it is trying to let boxers from Belarus compete in women’s world championships.
Sources have confirmed that the IBA, whose president Umar Kremlev is from Russia, has asked its board members to reverse their earlier decision to lift the ban on Belarusian boxers participating in the championships in Istanbul in May.
The IBA are already at the center of controversy after refusing to sever ties with their sponsor Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company.
The future of boxing as an Olympic sport depends on the behavior of the IBA, which will become a pariah sports federation in relation to its attitude towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At a tense five-hour board meeting earlier in the month, board members voted by a slim margin – believed to be a margin of three votes – to ban all Russian and Belarusian boxers from international tournaments, in accordance with a policy adopted by all major sport’s governing bodies .
A number of board members wanted boxers from both countries to be allowed to compete in neutral competitions.
While there is still no evidence that the Belarusian army is directly involved in the conflict, the Russian army used the country as a base for its invasion of Ukraine.
Today is the deadline for board members to cast their votes on whether to accept the proposal to lift the ban on Belarusian boxers.
There is already widespread unrest in some member countries about the political direction of the Russian-led organization.
The United States, England, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are among the countries leading a campaign to force the IBA and its President Umar Kremlev to disclose details of the deal with Gazprom.
In an email sent to IBA headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday and distributed to all member associations, the Common Cause Alliance Group notes that other sporting bodies, such as UEFA, have cut ties with Gazprom in order to to protect the reputation of their sport.
Reuters has reported that Gazprom boss Alexei Miller has called on the gas giant’s 500,000 employees to rally around Russian President Vladimir Putin to keep Russia a great power in the face of foreign attempts to break it up.
Miller, sanctioned by the western powers, told Gazprom employees in a letter that there are many examples of failed attempts to break Russia, so people should watch out for destructive attempts to sow discord that divide the Russian people could.
Miller rallied around Putin and said he will preserve “Russia as we know and love it” and preserve the motherland as a “great power.”
He did not explicitly mention the war in Ukraine, which the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation”.
Miller and Putin are said to be close. Miller moved to Moscow from St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, in 2000 when Putin was first elected President of Russia.
A year later, he was appointed chief executive of Gazprom, whose alleged $50 million deal with the International Boxing Association is keeping the organization afloat.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/boxing/iba-members-asked-to-reverse-ban-on-belarusian-boxers-at-womens-world-championships-41468075.html IBA members called for the ban on Belarusian boxers at women’s world championships to be reversed