The Boxing Federation of Russia has been accused of potentially violating the IBA's Constitution ©RBF

The International Boxing Association (IBA) has claimed it is "following up on concerns" about the Boxing Federation of Russia (BFR) which is facing accusations of bringing the sport into disrepute over its public support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

insidethegames has obtained a letter signed by the heads of several National Federations (NF) that has called on the IBA, led by Russian Umar Kremlev, the former secretary general of the BFR, to take actions against the organisation.

Addressed to the IBA’s Board of Directors, the letter seeks to bring to attention social media posts by the BFR about the Ukraine war that nine NF leaders believe potentially violate the worldwide governing body’s Constitution.

The high-ranking officials have accused the BFR of breaching article 11.1 (c), which states that NFs are required to "abstain from any conduct which is, or may reasonably be seen to be, detrimental to IBA or to the interests of IBA", and they urged the International Federation to respond to their complaints.

"By failing to take appropriate action against the Russian Boxing Federation in the circumstances outlined above, it is clear that IBA would be failing to comply with these provisions in the Olympic Charter, as required by IBA’s own Constitution," the letter read.

"We are very concerned that these potential violations by the Russian Boxing Federation bring the IBA and the sport of boxing into disrepute.

"Therefore, their active membership undermines the IBA’s and its members’ efforts to promote its constitutional principles and purposes with credibility."

The Netherlands' Boris van der Vorst, a former IBA Presidential candidate who is standing to become the new head of the European Boxing Confederation, is among the NF Presidents to sign the letter along with Tyson Lee, chair of the Board of Directors at USA Boxing.

Australia's Ted Tanner of Australia, New Zealand's Steve Hartley, Denmark’s Lars Brovil, Sweden’s Per-Axel Sjöholm, Finland’s Markku Kauhanen, Norway’s Odd Haktor Slake and Switzerland’s Andreas Anderegg have also added their signatures.

One of their key complaints was a statement by the BFR on March 18 where the governing body offered its "full confidence and support" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Times when, united, we will be able to resist all threats and difficulties," the BFR wrote.

"The boxing community took part in a festive concert in honour of the eighth anniversary of the annexation of the Republic of Crimea and in support of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

"The entire boxing community of Russia expresses its full confidence and support to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin!

"Difficulties are temporary.

"And we can overcome them only together!"

The post was accompanied by a picture taken during the pro-war rally hosted by Putin at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, showing a flag with a logo of the BRF and an individual wearing a hat with a "Z" sign.

The letter Z has been seen on Russian military vehicles and artillery during the widely-condemned war in Ukraine.

Boris van der Vorst, a former IBA Presidential candidate, is one of nine leaders of National Federations that has signed a letter of complaint against the Boxing Federation of Russia ©Boris van der Vorst
Boris van der Vorst, a former IBA Presidential candidate, is one of nine leaders of National Federations that has signed a letter of complaint against the Boxing Federation of Russia ©Boris van der Vorst

The nine NF leaders also pointed the IBA in the direction of another contentious social media post by the BFR about the war in Ukraine.

Posted on March 30, the BFR claimed that it had set up operational headquarters with the aim of shipping more than 100 trucks of humanitarian aid to civilians of Ukraine in what is described as "controlled areas as well as for refugees from the DPR and LPR located on the territory of the Russian Federation."

The Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) and Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) are pro-Russian separatist regions in Ukraine with Putin signing a decree in February to officially recognise their independence.

The IBA banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from competing in international competitions on March 4 in response to recommendations by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the invasion of Ukraine.

But the nine NF leaders that signed the letter want more action to be taken against the BFR, citing the move made by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) last month to suspend the National Federations of Russia and Belarus for bringing the sport into "disrepute".

The IBU Executive Board ruled that both organisations had violated "humanitarian obligations" under the worldwide governing body’s Constitution and concluded that it would be "unfair" for them to be full members "when their nations have disrupted the conduct of sport".

"It is within the authority of the Board of Directors to take action against National Federations that seriously breach the Constitution," the letter from the nine NF leaders added.

"We urge you to consider our stated arguments and facts.

"We would like to see the IBA Board of Directors take responsible steps to investigate and evaluate the actions of the Russian Boxing Federation."

In response a spokesperson for the IBA told insidethegames: "I can confirm that IBA is following up on concerns expressed with regard to the Russian Boxing Federation.  

"Following IBA’s adoption of the IOC’s recommendations, events scheduled in Russia were cancelled.

"There continues to be no participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in IBA events, including the forthcoming Women’s World Championships.

"Meanwhile, IBA continues to make very significant progress in implanting a comprehensive package of measures to improve governance, financial integrity and sporting integrity."