IBA President Umar Kremlev faced criticism during the Extraordinary Congress and took to the podium to defend himself ©IBA

Umar Kremlev, the President of the International Boxing Association (IBA), took to the podium at the IBA Extraordinary Congress here in Istanbul to defend his tenure, following concerns from a group of candidates who were yesterday deemed ineligible for election.

Shortly after the minutes of the previous Congress were approved by those in attendance, Boxing New Zealand President Steve Hartley was the first national delegate to speak on the floor.

This came after Kremlev announced that the Presidential and independent director elections would be postponed until tomorrow to allow sufficient time for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to handle the appeal by five candidates who were ruled out of contention yesterday.

The five - including Hartley and Presidential candidate Boris van der Vorst - currently cannot stand for their respective Board positions due to a decision made by the Boxing Independent Integrity Unit (BIIU), which said the group broke election rules.

These are linked to campaigning before the electoral period and collaboration between candidates in reference to a letter sent by the group - an advisory coalition called the Common Cause Alliance (CCA) who offered to assist the IBA in governance reforms with an aim at boxing being reinstated at the Olympic Games.

The other affected candidates are USA Boxing executive director Mike McAtee, President of the Swedish Boxing Federation Per-Axel Sjöholm and President of the Danish Boxing Federation Lars Brovil.

Hartley said it was "contradictory" for the BIIU verdict to be different from the "not guilty" the five received from the separate entity, the IBA Disciplinary Committee.

IBA Legal Counsel Claude Ramoni said the two organisations dealt with different issues and could not be compared.

McAtee was present throughout the Congress, repeatedly asking for clarification on the organisation's finances and governance.

"If a Board decided to suspend or not suspend, would that issue just be ratified by the Congress?" he asked, during the vote on whether St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Vanuatu would remain suspended as National Federations.

This seemed to indirectly mention the Russian Boxing Federation (RBF), who recently were recommended for suspension by the Ethics Committee after posting content related to the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.

However, the Board decided not to suspend the RBF, allowing them to vote at the Congress.

IBA secretary general István Kovács took questions regarding the finances of IBA today ©IBA
IBA secretary general István Kovács took questions regarding the finances of IBA today ©IBA

Later, Swedish Boxing Federation President Per-Axel Sjöholm asked why IBA had not presented documents regarding how the Benkons debt had been paid off, but IBA secretary general István Kovács said that the interim financial report showed only the last nine months and not before then, when the debt was settled.

Following an alleged outstanding debt question from Australia - which IBA called "not a loan and not a debt" - Kremlev took to the podium to answer following a flurry of financial questions including the price of communications and marketing.

"A couple of Federations are asking a lot of financial questions and asking us about expenses for marketing for boxing development," said the IBA President.

"As a President for IBA and boxing development I can answer any of your questions. 

"My main task is to make boxing very popular. 

"When you entrusted me with the position, there was a direct debt of $15 million (£12 million/€14 million).

"IBA never supported boxers, in a year we fixed that situation, we were able to attract more than $50 million (£40 million/€48 million).

"You ask questions of external managers? 

"We have the likes of Ulrich Haas who do independent evaluations and help us reform. 

"We also invited Professor McLaren as an independent expert.

"For us to get rid of the old governance which existed in the old organisations, we keep them clear from boxing. 

"That's why we spend money on independent experts. 

"Is is it bad that we support National Federations? 

"Is it bad that we give prize money? 

"We have to create conditions for our boxers."

Boris van der Vorst took the floor to ask IBA President Umar Kremlev questions about his governance today ©IBA
Boris van der Vorst took the floor to ask IBA President Umar Kremlev questions about his governance today ©IBA

Van der Vorst then took the floor, requesting information related to the report formed by integrity expert, Professor Richard McLaren.

"How many people were sanctioned on the basis of the McLaren Report and why has the last stage been delayed until after the Congress?" he asked.

The Dutchman then asked about financial sustainability and the reliance on the Gazprom deal.

Kremlev responded by saying he looked forward to National Federations and Van der Vorst providing potential sponsorship opportunities themselves.

The IBA President did not answer why the last stage of the McLaren Report was delayed until after the Congress.