In a controversial decision, International Boxing Association (IBA) has announced a return of the Russian and Belarusian boxers who will be allowed to compete under their national flags and anthems.
It is pertinent to mention here that IBA is a Russian-led organisation with Gazprom as its main sponsor.
“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports. Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions,” the statement said.
“According to the decision, the technical officials of Russia and Belarus will also be back in the competitions.”
IBA already finds itself on a warpath with Olympic organisers and with its decision to allow a return of the Russian and Belarusian boxers the matters are sure to get worse.
The IOC has already stripped IBA of the qualification tournaments and competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympics after also stripping the body of involvement in last year’s Tokyo Games due to a myriad of issues including governance, finance, refereeing and ethical transgressions.
Boxing is also expected to be absent from the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
Led by Russian businessman Umar Kremlev, IBA suspended Ukraine last month before a meeting that voted against a fresh presidential election all while preventing Dutch federation president Boris van der Vorst from running against Kemlev.
Van der Vorst in return has accused the IBA of being Russia’s propaganda machine.
“It is clear that IBA is held hostage by its Russian leadership and they are determined to keep the governing body under their control at any cost.”
Russian athletes were barred from competitions across the globe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but slowly the relevant bodies are trying to build pathway programmes for their reinstatement if certain conditions are met.
Tennis is one of the few sports which allows Russians and Belarusians to compete but under neutral flags.