Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh, right, has claimed the IOC will attend the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, despite the current poor relations between the two organisations ©BFI

Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh has claimed that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to send a team of observers to the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi in a move welcomed by the International Boxing Association (IBA).

Relations between the IOC and IBA have deteriorated since Russian official Umar Kremlev was controversially re-elected as President of the governing body last year.

According to the IBA, the IOC monitoring team is set to be led by professional services monitoring team PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which will work in parallel with the IBA and its McLaren Independent Investigation Team led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren responsible for background checking competition officials.

The IBA said it is "confident that the PwC team will see first-hand IBA’s best practices regarding technical and competitions rules, specifically its heralded bout review process", and hopes it can lead to its reinstatement by the IOC.

"The IBA’s commitment to ensuring the utmost integrity in the selection and evaluation processes of all technical officials is paramount and the verification of IBA’s reform efforts on this front will be a much-welcomed step in the important pathway leading to the lifting of the suspension of IBA’s recognition by the IOC ahead of Paris 2024 and with a view boxings place in LA 2028," it added.

The IBA, formerly AIBA, has been suspended by the IOC since 2019 because of continuing concerns related to governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes.

insidethegames has asked the IOC for a comment.

In its statement, the IBA pointed to numerous governance reforms it has made in the last two years, which it argued showed it has "endorsed and approved rules and policies to enhance transparency, good governance, financial governance and sustainability, fair and clean sport, referees’ education, scoring and Olympic qualification system, match manipulation and fixing".

It added that it has a "strong commitment to the vision, mission and objectives set out in the IOC Code of Ethics", and "looks forward to receiving the results of the PwC compliance assessment".

BFI President Ajay Singh, left, wants
BFI President Ajay Singh, left, wants "strong" relations between the IBA under its President Umar Kremlev, right, and the IOC ©IBA

Boxing remains off the initial Olympic programme for Los Angeles 2028, and the IBA is set to have no involvement for the tournament at Paris 2024 for the second consecutive Games.

The IBA has also been stripped of its right to organise qualification events for Paris 2024, despite its publication of its own qualification system last month which was dismissed by the IOC.

Critics including former Presidential candidate Boris van der Vorst of The Netherlands accused the IBA of "misinformation" and releasing a "statement from a parallel universe".

Singh hopes that the event, which is due to start on Wednesday (March 15), can help to improve relations between the IOC and IBA.

"We had invited the IOC and they were kind enough to accept," Singh said, as reported by Indian newspaper The Tribune.

"They will be part of this [World Championships].

"Ultimately, we all hope that the relations between the world Federation and the Olympics body are strong and we hope that happens."

The BFI President had hoped that the IBA Women's World Championships, scheduled to conclude with the finals on March 26, would serve as a Paris 2024 qualifier, but expressed India's interest in staging a qualification event for the Olympics.

"We had hoped that this would be a qualifying Championship but the IOC and the IBA could not agree, but nevertheless it is a premium Championship of boxers and we are proud to host it," Singh was quoted by The Tribune.

"The IOC has still to take a call on what they will use as a qualifying event.

"Whether it will be results from here or whether it will be other Championships, whatever it is, we will try to host that qualifier whenever that happens."

A qualification system for boxing at Paris 2024 was approved by the IOC Executive Board in September last year and published in December.

Continental Games are set to be used as qualifiers under the IOC'S model in addition to two world qualification tournaments.

India wants to stage a boxing qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympics, for which the IBA has been stripped of any involvement ©Getty Images
India wants to stage a boxing qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympics, for which the IBA has been stripped of any involvement ©Getty Images

India is due to host this year's IOC Session from October 15 to 17 in Mumbai, and is interested in staging the 2036 Olympics.

Relations between the IBA and IOC have slumped to an all-time low since Kremlev cemented his position as President at an Extraordinary Congress in Yerevan in September last year, where delegates voted against staging a fresh election despite van der Vorst wrongly being declared ineligible earlier in the year in Istanbul.

A bitter public row has ensued, and the IOC even warned boxing could be dropped altogether at Paris 2024 after the renewal of the IBA's ties with Russian majority-state owned energy giant Gazprom.

The IBA has allowed athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flag despite the war in Ukraine, contradicting the IOC's recommendations and making it the only Olympic sport to have taken such a step.

This, plus concerns over the IBA's direction under Kremlev, has prompted boycotts from at least 11 countries of the Women's World Championships.

Many have also pulled out of the Men's World Championships in Tashkent from May 1 to 14, and Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley has revealed an alternative competition is due to be staged in The Netherlands.

Hartley is one of five officials the IBA has launched disciplinary proceedings against for "inciting a boycott".

The IBA has pledged to provide financial assistance for athletes from countries boycotting the World Championships to enable them to participate, and Kremlev has described officials who shunned its flagship events as "worse than hyenas and jackals".

Kosovo have faced visa issues seeking to enter India for the Women's World Championships, with last year's lightweight bronze medallist Donjeta Sadiku at risk of missing out as she did at the 2018 edition in New Delhi.