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International Boxing Association allows Russian, Belarusian boxers to return with flags and anthems


The Russian-led International Boxing Association (IBA) on Wednesday lifted a ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus and said it would allow them to compete with national flags and anthems at events with immediate effect.

IBA allows Russian, Belarusian boxers to return with flags and chants (Twitter photo)

Highlights

  • Russian and Belarusian boxers and national flags were welcomed back into IBA competition
  • Technical officials from Russia and Belarus will also be allowed to participate in IBA competitions
  • Boxing was not included in the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games

The Board of Directors of the International Boxing Association (IBA) has decided to allow boxers from Belarus and Russia to compete in IBA tournaments under their national flags. The world governing body, which is at odds with Olympic organizers, said in a statement that its board of directors had voted in favor of the change. Technical officials from Russia and Belarus will also be allowed to participate in IBA competitions.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics should not have any influence on sports. Therefore, equal conditions should be provided to all athletes,” it said, adding that it was “politically neutral and independent”.

“The IBA calls for peace and remains a peacemaker in any conflict. Furthermore, the IBA is committed to ensuring that athletes and match officials are treated equally regardless of their nationality and residence,” the statement said. “Both the Russian and Belarusian teams can perform under their flags, and national anthems will be played if they win the gold medal.

“According to the decision, the technical officials of Russia and Belarus will also return to the competitions.” Athletes, referees and referees from both countries have been banned from the IBA’s international competitions since March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The IBA suspended Ukraine last month ahead of a conference chaired by Russian businessman Umar Kremlev that decided not to hold new presidential elections. The IBA believes Volodymyr Protivus, a Kremlin loyalist who left Ukraine in February, should replace Kyrillo Shevchenko as head of the Ukrainian federation.

Last week, the Kremlin was quoted as saying it was time to allow athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus to compete under their own flags.

Due to governance, financial, refereeing and ethical concerns, the IOC removed the IBA from participation in the Tokyo Games in 2018, and subsequently removed the boxing organization from both the qualifiers and competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Boxing was not included in the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

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