Allegations of a toxic culture within Boxing Canada have drawn the attention of the sport’s world governing body.
The International Boxing Association is launching a review of Boxing Canada and its high performance director Daniel Trépanier, after an open letter to Sport Canada from dozens of athletes called for an independent investigation and Trépanier’s resignation.
The IBA also on Friday withdrew Trépanier’s accreditation to the women’s world championships set to begin Sunday in Istanbul, although Boxing Canada said it would not travel to Turkey for the event.
“The open letter…is of grave concern to the International Boxing Association (IBA). There can be no room in our sport for the abuse of athletes and we ask for your cooperation in making it happen,” he said on Friday. IBA Secretary General Istvan Kovacs in a letter to Boxing Canada President Ryan Savage.
“The protection of boxers and the broader boxing community is, and will remain, a priority for the current IBA management team.”
Kovacs said the IBA’s integrity officer and ethics committee would review the claims raised in the letter to Sport Canada, originally signed by 121 current and retired boxers, which has since grown to 233.
Trépanier did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Canadian Press.
Kovacs’ letter on Friday, obtained by The Canadian Press, was also sent to Vicki Walker, chief executive of Sport Canada, Canadian sports minister Pascale St-Onge, CEO of Own the Podium Anne Merklinger, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee Trisha Smith, AthletesCan President Erin Wilson and Bernhard Welten, Chair of the International Boxing Federation Ethics Commission.
In a statement Friday, Minister St-Onge said there is a real sense of urgency for change in sport in Canada, “and I am determined to use every ounce of leadership and tools at my disposal. to start changing the sports culture. As I said before, we need to make sure that the athletes are at the center of the conversation and the proposed solutions.
Canada has four women – Priyanka Dhillon (48kg), Scarlett Delgado (54kg), Charlie Cavanagh (66kg) and Tammara Thibeault (75kg) – competing in Istanbul.
The IBA had planned to contact them if Trépanier attended the event.
“I would be grateful if you could describe the measures you have already put in place and/or intend to put in place to protect your team members currently participating in Istanbul from abuse,” Kovacs wrote to Boxing. Canada. “Please note that IBA is likely to contact your team directly here, to inform them of the safeguard measures that IBA has put in place.”
World and national medalists were among the athletes who signed Wednesday’s letter demanding both an independent investigation and Trépanier’s resignation.
Three-time world champion Mary Spencer told The Canadian Press that Trépanier “should have been fired a long time ago.”
Two-time Canadian super heavyweight champion Chris Bernier has alleged rampant favoritism.
“[Trepanier] 100 percent failed us, he had an obligation in place, but the obligation was unsatisfactory, it was impossible to do it,” Bernier said. “This situation was a landmine, and he was just looking for me to step on.”
The athletes painted the picture of a hostile environment of homophobic, misogynistic and sexist comments. They wrote about safety issues, including being forced to train despite having concussion symptoms.
They said there was a lack of fairness around things like the distribution of funds and patronage that clouded decisions about team selection.
IBA asked Boxing Canada for more information on athlete claims, including a full collection of athlete experiences that athletes said they presented to Boxing Canada’s board last year, and no investigation has not been launched.
“The open letter reads: ‘Boxing Canada has been made aware of these concerns but has not taken any action.’ This is a matter of great concern to us. Please note that IBA is likely to request further details,” Kovacs said.
The IBA requested that this document be sent to the IBA Integrity Officer, “along with a description of whether and how it was handled, including but not limited to evidence that the matter was referred to the committee. of Ethics of Boxing Canada or any similar body in Canada”.
The IBA said it also plans to follow up with Spencer about his experiences with Boxing Canada.
Canada will have a new safe sport program through the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada (SDRCC) operational by late spring, St-Onge promised. Former artistic swimmer Sarah-Eve Pelletier was hired last month as Canada’s first sports integrity commissioner.
She reiterated on Friday that the SDRCC will be mandatory for all National Sports Organizations, adding that “we are working to improve the accountability and governance of National Sports Organizations.”
Smith was asked Friday about the COC’s type of influence with national sports organizations.
“We are not in charge of NSOs,” she said. “They are independent. They are our members, but we have the opportunity to play a huge role in bringing the sports together…and identifying the issues and talking about them, as a system, to improve.
When asked if there was a mechanism to withdraw membership from a national sports organization, she replied: “We can look at all the different options, but we would certainly like to know the full history and background before to do. But, like any organization, if a member does not meet the standards, we all have the same statutes as any organization.