GENEVA — The troubled International Boxing Association may have to hold presidential elections again after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of a candidate who was denied the initial vote on Tuesday.
The court said it had upheld an appeal by Netherlands boxing spokesman Boris van der Voorst that he should not have been removed from last month’s ballot for a minor violation of campaign rules.
However, he did not order the IBA to hold a second ballot, which resulted in its president, Umar Kremlev, being re-elected by acclamation on 14 May.
The IBA said of the verdict that it would “receive legal advice on its implications and consider appropriate action” at its board meeting on June 24 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Van der Voorst was a perceived adversary of the Kremlin until an election review committee ruled that he was ineligible to run in the elections the day before the scheduled vote.
The Election Monitoring Commission removed Van der Voorst and other candidates for IBA elective office for alleged “prohibited cooperation” and campaigning.
The CAS judge decided that not only Van der Voorst, but also the Kremlin had violated the rule on premature campaigning.
A minor violation of the rules “would merit a light sanction, such as a warning or even no sanction, but not exclusion from the election,” the court said in a statement.
“We look forward to working with the IBA to get the electoral process back on track as soon as possible,” Van der Voorst said in a joint statement with the three allies, whose calls were also echoed by the CAS.
Election uncertainty has sparked skepticism within the International Olympic Committee about the IBA’s push to restore its status as a recognized boxing organizer ahead of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.
Boxing’s governing body was stripped of recognition by the IOC ahead of last year’s Tokyo Games and the sport was removed from the original program for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The IOC has long criticized the boxing body for its management, finances and fairness in championships, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Six years ago, Olympic boxing and the governing body was led by S.K. Wu, at the time a longtime member of the IOC.
Wu was replaced by Gafur Rakhimov, who was elected despite IOC warnings about his reputation. Rakhimov was on a US Treasury Department sanctions list for alleged links to international heroin trafficking, which he denied.
Kremlev was elected in 2020 and secured support from the IBA to pay off millions of dollars of debt, although the IOC has expressed further concerns about being financially dependent on Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom as a sponsor.