CAS rejects IBA appeal and upholds IOC ban

CAS upholds the IOC’s decision of 22 June 2023 to withdraw recognition from the IBA, which the organisation appealed against on 27 June 2023. According to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, after hearing both parties in November, “the IBA did not meet the conditions set by the IOC for recognition”.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has rejected the International Boxing Association’s (IBA) appeal against the decision of the IOC Session to withdraw recognition of the IBA as the International Boxing Federation. This was announced by CAS in a communiqué issued simultaneously to the parties. In doing so, it rejected the IBA’s appeal lodged with CAS on 27 June against the decision, which the IBA had requested to be “annulled and revoked in its entirety.”

Since the IOC withdrew its recognition of the IBA as the International Boxing Federation, Olympic boxing has been administered by the IOC itself, which has organised the qualifying tournaments for Paris 2024 and the Olympic tournament itself. Recently, the IOC announced that if boxing remained without a recognised governing body, there would be no boxing on the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic programme. All of this was pending the CAS ruling on the IBA’s appeal.

According to the CAS statement, the IBA’s appeal decision was based on the recommendation of the IOC Executive Board on 27 June, following a review of the situation after the conclusion of the Rio 2016 Games. “The IOC required the IBA to take several actions to address serious concerns related to its governance and financial stability. This process included the implementation of a roadmap, recommended by the IOC to the IBA in December 2021, to satisfactorily demonstrate to the IOC Executive Board that the IBA had successfully addressed the areas of concern.”

In the statement, CAS explains that it heard the parties on 16 November at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. It argues in the statement: “In its final decision, the CAS panel found that, at the time of the contested decision, the IBA had not fulfilled the conditions set by the IOC for recognition.”

There are three conditions imposed on the IBA. As stated by CAS this Wednesday:

1. The IBA had failed to improve its financial transparency and sustainability, including revenue diversification.

2- The IBA had not changed its procedures regarding referees and judges to ensure integrity. This included a monitoring period for the IBA’s own competitions prior to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

3 – The IOC had not ensured the full and effective implementation of all the measures proposed by the IOC Governance Reform Group, including a change of culture. Consequently, the Panel found that these three elements justified the decision of the IOC Session to withdraw recognition from the IBA, stressing that “the right of the IOC to control the circumstances and conditions under which it grants recognition outweighs the personality rights of the IBA.

Thus, boxing still does not have an international federation responsible for the global governance and management of the sport, including the demands and needs to remain in the Olympic Movement. For the time being, we will have to wait and see what happens in order to avoid the existing uncertainty after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Recently, on 19 March, after its meeting in Lausanne, the IOC insisted on maintaining the exclusion of the IBA as the manager of boxing and announced that if there was no new body to take over the management of this sport, “we will not be able to have boxing in the LA2028 programme in partnership with the IOC”.The IOC reiterated: “The International Boxing Association (IBA) will not participate in any way if boxing is part of the LA28 Olympic Games.”

For its part, the IBA said in response to the IOC’s revelations that it would “use all legal means to prove that we are right.” The organisation criticised the IOC’s decision to maintain its exclusion, insisting that “there is no alternative” and reiterating that the IOC’s decisions were “politicised”

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