International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev has launched a stinging attack on the leadership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), describing them as “prostitutes in sports who get involved in politics”.
Kremlev claimed “corruption had entered the IOC” since Thomas Bach assumed the role of President in 2013 and slammed the organisation for “not defending the interests of the athletes” in a report by boxing website NotiFight.
The Russian official’s scathing comments comes after the IBA became the first governing body to be expelled from the Olympic Movement following a vote at an Extraordinary IOC Session in June.
An IOC report concluded that the IOC had failed to fulfil the conditions set out for lifting the suspension that was put in place in 2019 due to issues with finances, governance and the credibility of its competitions.
The meeting also saw the IOC confirm boxing’s place on the programme for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.
Speaking during a visit to Nicaragua, Kremlev reiterated his optimism over the IBA regaining its Olympic status before hitting out at Bach and members of the IOC’s Executive Board.
“Boxing is still on the program (sic) of the Olympic Games,” said Kremlev in the report by NotiFight.
“They stopped the recognition of the IBA, because they are afraid that the IBA, being a member of the IOC, will give its very good results as an International Federation.
“I am convinced that we are going to get recognition from the IOC again.
“I’m sure we’re going to get it.
“They have to understand that, for us, the Olympic Games are also important.
“We have no problem, no conflict with the Olympic Movement.
“We have problems with some IOC officials, who are President Thomas Bach and his team.
“Because they are like prostitutes in sports, who get involved in politics and do not defend the interests of the athletes.”
Kremlev has repeatedly blamed former President CK Wu – the former IOC Executive Board member who led the governing body between 2006 and 2017 – for the organisation’s troubles.
Wu was later banned for life by the IBA for “gross negligence and financial mismanagement” but has not been sanctioned by the IOC, who he left as a member in 2020, citing medical advice.
Speaking at an American Boxing Confederation Continental Forum in June, Kremlev claimed Wu should be “shot” for “destroying boxing” in comments that have been widely condemned, including by the IOC.
Kremlev said that he had asked for a meeting with the IOC on several occasions only to be knocked back, insisting “any conflict can be resolved by sitting at the table and the dirty people hide in the offices”.
He also hailed the Presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch who led the IOC between 1980 and 2001.
“Samaranch was a great example of a sports leader, who fought for the interests of all athletes, of all sports and all national federations,” added Kremlev.
“And we know that, during the Presidency of Thomas Bach, corruption entered the IOC.
“I’m not afraid to say it, they are afraid of what I say.
“Because we have a reputation and they are afraid that the truth will come out.
“They are even afraid to meet me.
“I have requested several times personal meetings with the IOC leaders, to have answers to many questions, and in response he tells me that the IBA has financial problems, and I say ‘where are those problems if we help the National Federations and the athletes’.
“It may be that they (the IOC) are the ones who have financial problems, because they do not give any support to the athletes or federations that participate in the Olympic Games.”
Bach told the IOC Session that his organisation had an “extremely serious problem” with the IBA, while its director general Christophe de Kepper ruled that the body had “reached the point of no return”.
A total of 69 members of the IOC Session backed the proposal by the organisation’s Executive Board to banish the IBA, with just one voting against.
It was an unprecedented decision as no sporting governing body had previously ever been expelled by the IOC. – Inside the Games.