The International Boxing Association (IBA) has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of “lack of transparency” and “unlawful” conduct and raised questions about its “transparency principles” while inviting boxing officials for the 2024 Paris Olympics qualification process.
The IBA has threatened to take IOC to court for redressal of the issue.
In an open letter to IOC president Thomas Bach ahead of the global sports body’s executive board meeting on Tuesday, IBA has said its competition officials were being approached by IOC “without prior approval or communication to IBA”, which is a breach of the data transfer agreement signed between the two parties in 2019.
At the root of the problem is the ban imposed by IOC on the boxing body due to concerns around its governance, financial transparency, sustainability and the integrity of refereeing and judging process.
The IOC has informed IBA that it would conduct boxing qualification events leading up to the Paris Olympics, the same way it had done before of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Despite the IOC’s instructions, the boxing body declared that the IBA-run women’s World Championships in New Delhi, which concluded on Sunday, would be the main qualification event for 2024 Paris.
On Monday, IBA wrote to IOC, saying, “…sharing the IBA’s deep concerns regarding basic IOC governance, impartiality, and transparency principles seen during the monitoring process ahead of Paris 2024 which will mark the 120th anniversary of boxing’s participation the Olympic Games.
“At the heart of the IBA’s governance concerns is the protection of personal and confidential data of its IBA Competition Officials under GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law. This was first brought to the IBA’s attention when it was confirmed that the Paris 2024 Boxing Unit, contacted IBA Competition Officials inviting them to act as volunteer Officials for the Paris 2024 Qualification Competition and the Boxing Tournament.
“This was done without prior approval or communication to IBA, with whom the Competition Officials are certified and showed a lack of basic communication that demonstrates once again the lack of transparency and cooperation with the IBA from the respective IOC staff. This action is in breach of the Data Transfer Agreement signed on 15/26 November 2019 between IBA and IOC.”
IBA said the IOC could not keep the boxing officials’ data beyond a stipulated period as agreed upon by the two parties, and, in this case, should have been destroyed after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Referring to clause 4.1b, IBA emphasised, “The Transferred Personal Data (contact details) will not be kept for longer than necessary for the Agreed Purposes (boxing qualification competitions and events for Tokyo 2020 as well as the boxing Tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (collectively the ‘Boxing Competitions’) and will be completely and irreversibly destroyed after the fulfilment.
“Considering that the IBA has not shared any Competition Officials’ contact details with the IOC after Tokyo 2020, it is clear that either the IOC has obtained these contacts unlawfully or has breached the Agreement. With the latter being more serious considering that the IBA Head Office received numerous complaints from our Competition Officials about this unsolicited communication from the IOC.”
IBA said it is worried how the IOC obtained the data, adding that it undermines the boxing body’s “investment in a high-quality process” to select officials.
“The IBA is truly concerned about the source from which the IOC has obtained these contact details and regarding this, namely integrity, transparency, lack of continuous professional development, skill fade, and GDPR as the starting point.
“The process that the IOC has applied does not meet the high standard of selection criterions that IBA have been striving towards in the past two years. The way the IOC process has been rolled out, completely undermines the IBA’s investment in a high-quality process for our officials, and the actions of the IOC demonstrates a lack of common decency and cooperation to communicate the IOC,” intentions via the respective appointed personnel within IBA.”
The IBA said it reserves the right to take IOC to court.
“The IBA therefore will reserve all rights to seek redress before the competent court against IOC to request damages for breach of the Agreement, illegitimate use of our intellectual property and breach of the GDPR amongst other breaches in which the IOC has committed.”