GENEVA (AP) — The challenger to the Russian incumbent in a presidential election at the troubled International Boxing Association was ruled ineligible Thursday, a day before the vote.
Dutch boxing federation president Boris van der Vorst was taken out of Friday’s election by an independent vetting panel after an investigation of complaints that included claims of “prohibited collaboration” and campaigning, the IBA said in a statement.
Four other candidates to join IBA’s board of directors were also ruled ineligible.
The decisions by the five-person Interim Nomination Unit working on behalf of IBA can be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the boxing governing body said.
However, an appeal would have to be filed, heard and judged before the scheduled election Friday on the sidelines of the women’s world championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
It is the third presidential election for the controversial boxing body in less than four years, a period marked by open conflict with the International Olympic Committee.
IBA president Umar Kremlev is standing for re-election and seeking more legitimacy amid widespread sanctions on Russian sports from Olympic governing bodies during the country’s war in Ukraine. The IOC also has concerns that the IBA now seems financially dependent on Kremlin-backed energy firm Gazprom.
The boxing body has been regularly criticized by the IOC in recent years about the integrity of governance and finances, and potentially improper judging of bouts at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Evidence of fixed Olympic bouts under previous leadership was shown in an investigation requested by Kremlev.
The rebranded IBA was known by the acronym AIBA when it was stripped of recognition by the IOC ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics is also in doubt.
The IOC cautioned boxing officials worldwide against electing its past two presidents: Kremlev in 2020 and Gafur Rakhimov in 2018. Rakhimov was on a U.S. Treasury Department sanctions list for alleged links to international heroin trafficking, which he denied.
The independent panel excluded Van der Vorst — who lost in the 2020 election to Kremlev — and the four other officials from a group called Common Cause Alliance.
The panel of five includes a former CAS legal counsel, a lawyer who has represented the Australian Olympic Committee and Roberto Cammarelle, the 2008 Olympic champion in the super heavyweight category.
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