The International Boxing Association, led by Umar Kremlev, centre, has announced it will allow boxers and officials to participate at the European Games as a "goodwill gestures towards the IOC" ©IBA

The International Boxing Association (IBA) has cleared the way for all boxers, technical officials and coaches to take part at next month’s European Games in Kraków-Małopolska in a bid to "separate them from the politics of sport".

IBA President Umar Kremlev has issued a letter to all European National Federations announcing that they would be able to "freely participate" in the event which serves as a qualifier for next year’s Olympics in Paris.

It has been described as a "goodwill gesture towards the IOC" by the IBA as the worldwide governing body reiterated its desire for "cooperation" to regain Olympic recognition.

The move comes after the IBA revealed that its secretary general and chief executive George Yerolimpos had held a "positive discussion" with European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Spyros Capralos to address the situation.

The IBA claimed the meeting between Yerolimpos and the International Olympic Committee member took place for "the benefit of the athletes and the integrity of the process".

The IOC is set to run the Olympic qualifiers and the boxing competition at Paris 2024 after the IBA was stripped of the rights to do so due to continuing governance concerns under the leadership of Kremlev.

Calls had previously been made by the IBA for the European Games to lose its Paris 2024 qualification status over the EOC's decision to block Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at the event.

Boxers, technical officials and coaches have been given the all clear by the IBA to participate at Kraków-Małopolska 2023 ©EOC
Boxers, technical officials and coaches have been given the all clear by the IBA to participate at Kraków-Małopolska 2023 ©EOC

Judges and referees had also found themselves at the centre of a dispute between the two organisations, with the IBA warning that those who took part in any IOC-run event will face sanctions.

The IBA had threatened legal action against IOC after alleging that competition officials’ contact details were obtained "unlawfully" or in breach of the Data Transfer Agreement signed by the two bodies in November 2019.

The row over judges and referees had increased uncertainty over the staging of Olympic boxing qualifiers but the IBA has now backed down, opening the door for them to feature at the European Games which are due to open on June 21.

"For the sake of boxing, the IBA remains committed to an athlete-first approach where all our athletes have a clear process and pathway to qualify for Paris 2024 but also for our technical officials and coaches who will play a vital role in ensuring their safety and safeguarding the results," a statement from the IBA read.

"As a mechanism to safeguard our athletes and the results at Paris 2024, the IBA will cooperate with the IOC regarding the top technical officials to be included in such competition."

The IBA said that it would approach Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren to contact the IOC over vetting technical officials for the European Games.

According to the IBA, McLaren has the "most complete and most reliable database" on referees and judges.

McLaren was responsible for leading an investigation into the officiating at the Rio 2016 Olympics which saw all 36 referees and judges involved suspended follow suspicious results.

The IBA said it had held a
The IBA said it had held a "positive discussion" with EOC President and IOC member Spyros Capralos over participation for the European Games ©EOC

The IBA claimed that it had also offered the EOC the use of its bout review system which was used during this year’s Men’s and Women’s World Championships.

"With the European Games a month away, this decision was not taken easily, but ultimately it was done to keep our boxers, technical officials, and coaches safe, to protect their results, and separate them from the politics of sport," said Kremlev.

"It was clear, the path previously taken could not guarantee that they would not fall victim to this and become collateral damage."

The IBA had its IOC recognition withdrawn in June 2019 due to concerns over judging and refereeing, financial stability and governance, leading to the IOC Boxing Task Force handling the sport at Tokyo 2020.

Boxing has also been left off the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028.

Earlier this month, the IBA delivered a 400-page report to the IOC to address the long-standing governance concerns raised against the governing body.

According to the IBA, the document has information on all reforms done over the last two years.

Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren is set to help the IOC with the selection of referees and judges for the European Games ©EOC
Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren is set to help the IOC with the selection of referees and judges for the European Games ©EOC

It is hoped that the IBA’s decision to allow all boxers, technical officials and coaches to participate at the European Games will improve relations with the IOC as the organisation seeks to ensure boxing’s Olympic future.

"The IBA will continue to put its athletes and stakeholders first and this goodwill gesture towards the IOC is the first step and the IBA will continue to strive for open and free dialogue with the IOC for the benefit of boxing, its athletes, and the stability and quality of the Olympic Games," a statement from the IBA added.

"The IBA reiterates its desire for cooperation as we work to regain our Olympic recognition. Recently this has included the IBA providing a comprehensive 400-pages report to the IOC addressing all governance concerns and the creation of an IBA Ad Hoc Communication Committee to engage with the IOC through in-person dialogue."

insidethegames has contacted the EOC for comment.