A rebranded IBA was presented at the Congress ©IBA

The International Boxing Association has changed the governing body’s acronym from AIBA to IBA as part of a series of governance reforms approved at their Extraordinary Congress today.

A total of 80 delegates voted in favour of the change at the virtual meeting, with five opposing the move.

The backdrop of the virtual Congress immediately altered to feature new IBA branding, with a video playing vowing to deliver a "new organisation".

Rebranding the organisation has been a long-term suggestion, due to a view that the AIBA brand had been "tarnished" amid allegations of match-fixing and corruption.

A package of governance reforms, developed by a group chaired by Swiss professor Ulrich Haas, were approved at the Congress.

The reforms were passed by a margin of 84 votes in favour and one against.

Recommendations included requiring a "clear majority" of the existing Board to be replaced,  and the introduction of a liaison officer, who enjoys trust at both the governing body and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Board will be reduced to 18 members, with a selection process for independent directors set to be determined.

The liaison officer is considered part of emergency measures required to enhance the relationship between IBA and the IOC, with the official expected to be a point of contact and mediator.

A Boxing Integrity Unit is scheduled to be established in 2022, while a restructured Finance Committee, Audit Committee and a new Strategy Committee are set to be implemented.

The existing Board approved the reform package last month, with the Congress rubber-stamping the changes today.

The IOC warned last week that the organisation must "demonstrate it has successfully addressed the ongoing concerns around its governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and integrity of refereeing and judging process" by 2023 for boxing to be included at Los Angeles 2028 and for its suspension to be lifted in time for Paris 2024.

In an interim report on AIBA published last Wednesday (December 8), IOC chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli questioned the nature of the contract with Russian utility company Gazprom and claimed the embattled Federation is in danger of being overly dependent on the company for its revenue.

AIBA’s financial situation was a key factor in the IOC’s decision to suspend it as the Olympic governing body for boxing in June 2019.

A report from the EY auditing firm said the agreement would run from April this year to December 2021 and that "AIBA had received 100 per cent of the contractually stipulated amount of funds in the first half of 2021 as a prepayment".

EY said the conditions of the Gazprom contract enabled AIBA to "fully cover" its expenditure for the year to June 30 and to cover budgeted expenditures for the year until June 30 in 2022. 

After that period, however, AIBA’s revenues - in addition to the remaining six months of revenues from the Gazprom agreement - will be "dependent on future licensing, sponsorship and event revenues that have yet to be contracted".

Dutch Boxing Federation head Boris van der Vorst, who had stood in the AIBA Presidential election last year, raised the Gazprom sponsorship during the Congress.

IBA President Umar Kremlev denied the sponsorship was an issue.

"The EY auditors looked through the contract with Gazprom and it is all transparent and no concerns were raised about this contract," Kremlev said.

Financial results were highlighted during the Congress ©IBA
Financial results were highlighted during the Congress ©IBA

The IBA’s current assets were reported to be CHF40,112,802 (£33 million/$44.5 million/€39 million) by June 30 in 2021, compared to CHF1,193,170 (£900,000/$1.1 million/€1 million) on the same date in 2020.

The governing body revealed that its current liabilities are CHF46,017,024 (£37 million/$50 million/€44 million), having been CHF5,158,067 (£4 million/$5.4 million/€4.8 million) on June 30 in 2020.

IBA claimed CHF44,035,731 (£36 million/$47 million/€42 million) of the figure is deferred income, which they say will become profit over the next 12 months.

IBA promised it will return to positive equity next year, projecting the organisation will have CHF932,205 (£760,000/$1 million/€895,000) in unrestricted funds by June 30.

Chief financial officer Rob Garea presented the financial reports.

IBA secretary general István Kovács and Referees and Judges Committee chair Chris Roberts also presented reports during the Congress.

Roberts discussed the ongoing development of a new scoring system for the sport.