IABA Statement: IBA & the illegal suspension of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association condemns, utterly and without reservation, the illegal suspension of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation from the world governing body, the IBA.

The fact that the IBA has suspended the Ukrainian Boxing Federation for alleged government interference shows the continued vulnerability of boxing’s world governing body to external forces and influence. It is the latest in a series of acts and decisions by the IBA which do not align with boxing’s core values and which show that the legacy of its predecessor, AIBA, lingers.

The IBA took the decision to suspend the Ukrainian Boxing Federation on September 23rd . This matter was not referred for consideration by federations attending the IBA Conference in Yerevan, two days later. In so doing, the IBA violated Article 13.3 of its own constitution and imposed the will of certain decision makers in the organisation on a federation in good standing without providing any evidence to support its allegation.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association notes the statement issued by IBA on Friday evening , that “Sports is out of politics: where it begins, politics ends.” In its actions in recent days, the IBA has shown this not to be its position.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association notes IBA comments on the impact of this illegal suspension on Ukrainian boxers contesting the European Junior Championships. The championships began on Tuesday – that took the IBA so long to address the impact of its decision making on athletes is unacceptable. Furthermore, it is cold comfort to these young boxers that “The details of their participation and the use of national insignia have already been arranged”. This should never have been at issue.

The IABA, and Irish Boxing, stands in solidarity with our sister federation and calls for the immediate restoration of full IBA membership for the Ukrainian Boxing Federation.

The unethical imposition of this illegal suspension by the IBA and its decision not to lay that suspension before the IBA Congress on September 25th is surpassed in gravity only by the IBA’s decision at that Congress not to permit a free and fair Presidential election to take place. Holding a vote to hold vote when the previous ballot was miss-run doesn’t stand up to even the most glancing of scrutiny.

The proliferation of long-standing governance matters in boxing’s world governing body meant the IOC had to step in and run Boxing in Tokyo. It will do so again in Paris. Boxing is not among the schedule of sports for LA.  Those in the IBA are acutely aware of these issues and the steps required to resolve them. The IBA appears to be choosing a path away from Olympic boxing. As a result, the IABA calls for fresh IBA presidential elections at the earliest opportunity.

The IABA, through President Gerry O’Mahony and Interim CEO, John Nangle, is a proud member of the Common Cause Alliance. Our Common Cause is to keep Olympic style boxing in the Olympic program of Paris 2024 and ensure its re-inclusion for Los Angeles 2028.

Boxing is Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, accounting for 18 of the country’s 35 Olympic medals.