Boris van der Vorst will not stand in tomorrow's IBA Presidential election ©Boris van der Vorst

Dutch Boxing Federation President Boris van der Vorst, who was to stand as a candidate for the Presidency of the International Boxing Association (IBA) tomorrow, has been deemed ineligible by the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU).

He was due to stand against incumbent , the Russian Umar Kremlev, tomorrow, but has had that opportunity withdrawn - along with four others standing for the Board of Directors - by the Interim Nomination Unit of the BIIU, chaired by an ex-Swiss judge and former professor of sports law at University of Neuchâtel Piermarco Zen-Ruffinen.

This stems from the creation of a group called the Common Cause Alliance (CCA) in which the five candidates in question signed open letters to IBA.

Principally, the concern surrounds an introductory letter from the CCA to National Federations.

Speaking to insidethegames, the Dutchman claimed he was working out the legality of the decision.

"I am extremely concerned about this decision, which is in sharp contrast to the decision of the Disciplinary Committee from yesterday," van der Vorst told insidethegames

"I am working with my lawyers now and will be able to comment more soon."

In a follow-up statement from all five affected delegates, they acknowledged the result, but said it contradicted a separate ruling by the Disciplinary Committee.

"The candidates acknowledge but do not agree with the Interim Nomination Unit's ruling, given the conflicting 'not guilty' verdict of the IBA Disciplinary Committee on May 11, 2022," it read, as seen by insidethegames.

"The candidates have been in communication with their legal team, which has filed an emergency appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"The candidates stated they ran their campaigns calling for a change of IBA leadership and culture, financial accountability, proper governance, sustainable management, ethical behaviour inside and outside the field of play. 

"They will continue to fight for this cause and will use all legal avenues available to them."

The decision could have serious implications for IBA, who already suspended from organising Olympic boxing by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and have made it clear they are dissatisfied with the Presidency of Kremlev, who has recruited Russian state energy giant Gazprom as the organisation's major sponsor. 

"The IOC is monitoring the developments in IBA very closely," an IOC spokesman told insidethegames.

Mike McAtee is one of the other candidates who were part of the Common Cause Alliance who will not be able to stand ©USA Boxing
Mike McAtee is one of the other candidates who were part of the Common Cause Alliance who will not be able to stand ©USA Boxing

USA Boxing's executive director Mike McAtee was one of those deemed ineligible too, shortly after a statement was made public of his endorsement of Van der Vorst.

Others unable to stand are Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley, President of the Swedish Boxing Federation Per-Axel Sjöholm and President of the Danish Boxing Federation Lars Brovil.

This started with complaints made to the Interim Nomination Unit on April 11 and 13, accusing the five candidates of acting improperly under IBA regulations, alleging that they participated in another international boxing organisation.

It added that there was collaboration between candidates and electoral campaigning outside the electoral period.

Serbia made the April 11 complaint, followed by a similar one by Venezuela on April 13.

When speaking to Genius Sports in the following investigation, Van der Vorst said that along with eight other National Federations, wrote to the IBA Board about investigating the Russian Boxing Federation for allegedly supporting the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine.

The Dutchman said the group was also not related to elections as the CCA's meeting request with Kremlev was in January, when he had not intended to run.

Mike McAtee replied to Genius Sports, a London-based company that specialises in providing integrity services to sports organisations, a day later on April 26, claiming USA Boxing "does not participate in any other international boxing organisation".

The BllU lnterim Nomination Unit ruled that, according to Articles 25.1.12 and 25.1.2 of the IBA Regulations on Congress and Elections, they could be in breach of the collaboration between candidates and electoral campaigning outside the electoral period.

The Interim Nomination Unit found that it had jurisdiction over the matter - independently from the Disciplinary Committee - since the Nomination Unit deals with the eligibility of the candidates and not on disciplinary matters.

The Disciplinary Committee investigated with their own Disciplinary Panel and found the five not guilty.

CCA sent a letter on March 29 to the National Federations, stating it would like to work with IBA.

Boris van der Vorst's ineligibility means Umar Kremlev looks set to be re-elected ©IBA
Boris van der Vorst's ineligibility means Umar Kremlev looks set to be re-elected ©IBA

"The reason for this message is to ensure thot you understand that the Common Cause Alliance aims to support the International Boxing Association in it is stated mission, 'to promote, support and govern the sport of boxing worldwide in accordance with the requirements and spirit of the Olympic Charter'," read the letter.

It also expressed a wish to work collaboratively on reforms as outlined in independent reviews and requested contact information, making its goal for boxing's inclusion on the Olympic Games programme at Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. 

The BIIU Interim Nomination Unit, which also included Italy's Olympic super heavyweight gold medallist Roberto Cammarelle, claimed it was "left with no other option" but to make all CCA members ineligible for election after reviewing the report of Genius Sports, the IBA Constitution and IBA Regulations on Congress and Elections.

It cited that the Extraordinary Congress was announced on December 30 last year, with the future CCA members writing to President Kremlev on January 7, which was then followed by the letter to the National Federations.

The other members of the BIIU Interim Nomination Unit included Louise Reilly, an Irish barrister who is the current chair of the Biathlon Integrity Unit.

The panel was completed by Australia's Catherine Ordway, an assistant professor and expert in sports integrity at the University of Canberra, and Jacques Blondin, an Italian sports lawyer and head of regulatory enforcement at FIFA.

insidethegames has asked Kremlev for a comment.