IOC Recognition: CAS Dismisses International Boxing Association’s Appeal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by the International Boxing Association (IBA), challenging the withdrawal of its recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In July of last year, the IBA approached CAS days after the IOC session decided to withdraw its recognition as the International Federation for the sport of boxing.

The CAS Panel, in its decision dated April 2, 2024, noted that the IBA failed to fulfil the conditions laid down for its recognition. The conditions included changing its process relating to referees and judges (R&J), increasing financial transparency, etc. Notably, the Panel concurred with the IOC that the appellant had not depicted that it achieved financial transparency and sustainability through the diversification of its revenues.

The issues concerning the Gazprom sponsorship were that it was a single source of revenue, its financing horizon was relatively short, and it was a Russian state-owned entity. Though it was stated that the Gazprom sponsorship deal came to an end in December 2022, and the IBA had signed a sponsorship agreement with an Australian boxing equipment brand, Sting, the IBA subsequently said that it sought to extend the Gazprom sponsorship contract. Additionally, the Gazprom logo still finds its place on the IBA website, and no evidence has been submitted with respect to the terms of the new sponsorship agreement with Sting.

As to the Association’s personality rights, the Panel opined that it was outweighed by the IOC’s right to control the circumstances and conditions on which it confers recognition. It was observed that the concerns raised pertaining to finance, governance, and sporting integrity were significant, and the reasons depicted were enough to outweigh the incursion of the personality rights enjoyed by the IBA as a recognised international federation. The Panel also specified that the IBA did not have a right to be recognised and that the power to grant recognition was discretionary.

While the IOC released a statement[1] welcoming this decision, the IBA announced that it is weighing its options[2] to determine whether it would challenge the decision via an appeal before the Swiss Federal Tribunal.