EOC decision to block Russian and Belarusian athletes contradicts IOC recommendations, says IBA

The EOC's President, Spyros Capralos, said that it was "impossible" to accept the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the multi-sport event

Spyros Capralos (in a file photo)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Apr 13, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Following the European Olympic Committees’ (EOC) decision to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the tournament, the International Boxing Association (IBA) asked for the European Games 2023 boxing competition’s Paris 2024 qualification status to be canceled. The IBA has suggested that the event’s designation as an Olympic qualification event should be canceled as a result of the EOC’s decision. The EOC’s President, Spyros Capralos, said that it was “impossible” to accept the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the multi-sport event on the eve of the EOC Flame of Peace Lighting Ceremony in Rome earlier this month. Capralos added that “a decision had been taken some time ago that under the circumstances no Russian and Belarusian athletes would come to the European Games.”

EOC’s decision against the IOC’s recommendations

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board recommended last month that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be permitted to compete as neutrals, provided they are against the war in Ukraine and are not affiliated with the military. According to the IBA, the EOC’s decision contradicts those recommendations. The IBA said in a statement, “The IOC recognized a continental qualifier for Europe, which contradicts the IOC’s stance on Russian and Belarusian athletes, as these athletes are not able to compete at the European Games 2023 and will be denied the opportunity to qualify for Paris 2024.”

The IBA has urged for the European Games 2023 boxing tournament to be canceled as an IOC-recognized qualifier for Paris 2024. This was in response to the EOC’s discriminatory acts against the recommendations presented at the most recent IOC Executive Board Meeting. The IBA said that it “reiterates its commitment to fair opportunities for all athletes regardless of their nationality and will stand for the rights of each of them. The athlete-first approach should prevail and there should be no place for politics in our sport, and IBA shows this with its actions.”

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IOC in charge of conducting Boxing at the 2024 Olympics

Due to their worries over the IBA’s governance, the IOC will be overseeing the boxing competition for the second consecutive Olympic Games in Paris. Last month, the IBA threatened legal action against the IOC after it invited competition officials to serve at qualifying competitions for Paris 2024 and the Games themselves. This was the latest development in an extended dispute between the two organizations. In response, the IOC stated that the IBA would face “consequences” if legal action was pursued.

Establishment of World Boxing as an Alternative to IBA

The IBA’s call for the European Games boxing tournament to be removed from Paris 2024 qualification status came just a few hours before a group of National Federations was set to confirm plans to announce a breakaway international governing body for the sport. With the ongoing dispute between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Boxing Association (IBA), a new international federation called ‘World Boxing’ has been created to secure the sport’s future in the Olympic Games. The organization is run by an Interim Executive Board made up of members from the National Federations of the United States, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Sweden.

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