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IBA set to renew Gazprom sponsorship deal

The development comes despite the IOC voicing concerns about dependence on the Russian gas giant

The International Boxing Association (IBA) seems set to renew its sponsorship deal with Gazprom after its national federations approved doing so despite concerns of dependency on the Russian gas giant previously raised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IBA’s Russian president Umar Kremlev informed representatives at an Ordinary Congress in Abu Dhabi on Sunday that a two-year, $50 million deal with Gazprom is nearing expiry.

“Gazprom helped us to become independent and made us financially stable,” Kremlev said, as reported by Inside the Games.

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“Through this partnership we have been able to help many athletes and have been able to offer prize money at the continental and World Championships level.”

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The Russian energy giant is an important sponsor for global boxing. © Maksim Konstantinov / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Image
World boxing chiefs accused of ‘Gazprom dependence’

“It has also ensured the participation of national federations that would otherwise not have been able to send teams to these events. They turned to the IBA, which has helped them participate.”

“This year, the contract runs out,” Kremlev informed the gathering, before asking “National Federations, do you agree to extend the contract?” to a round of applause.

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The IBA is currently being prevented from overseeing boxing at the Paris 2024 Olympics and has been urged to introduce reforms. The sport has been left off the initial program for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

There are concerns from the IOC and its president Thomas Bach about refereeing and judging, in addition to the IBA’s finances and “financial dependency” on Gazprom.

Kremlev explained at the Ordinary Congress how he wanted to ensure that all decisions regarding the IBA’s future are made together with national federations before stating that his goal is for boxing “to become the cleanest and most transparent sport out there.” 

The IBA has appointed McLaren Global Sport Solutions as its “integrity oversight body” for the next four years, and Kremlev further announced that the IBA “will also extend its contract with Professor McLaren and his team so our transparency only grows stronger.”

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December 12, 2022 at 01:09AM
RT

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