IOC president Thomas Bach. GETTY IMAGES

More revelations have emerged from a prank call made to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach in March. In it, the 70-year-old administrator made a number of allegations against Umar Kremlev, the president of the International Boxing Association (IBA), including that the Russian changed his name because of his "criminal past".

Last month, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected an appeal made by IBA after it was stripped of its rights to organise the Paris 2024 Olympic boxing tournament. Weeks before that, Bach was the victim of a hoax call by Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus.

Thinking he was talking to an African leader, Bach was asked about Kremlev signing up countries for the Friendship Games - Russia's rival to the Olympics - in September.

The IOC chief said, “I will send you an article even of a Russian newspaper about him which I just saw this week. You know, he is a corrupted and corrupting guy. This is why we had to exclude this international federation. And he is indeed travelling around and promising here and promising there and paying money, and he has been appointed by President (Vladimir) Putin to be the kind of marketing ambassador of these Friendship Games. And in this way now, you know, he is also the son-in-law of the head of Putin's personal security unit."

When asked if Kremlev had been caught for corruption, Bach replied, "Well, he even changed his name because of criminal past and then he took over this international federation... It's a long story and then finally they were excluded by us. There is also a court case pending but we can expect a decision, I guess, next month or until the end of next month, but also there we are very confident."

The court case Bach referred to was CAS upholding the IOC decision to strip IBA of organising rights for Paris 2024.

The former fencing Olympic gold medallist was later asked who he should be wary of with regard to the Friendship Games. Bach replied, "For sure, Kremlev, and any other envoy they may want to send to you with regard to these Games. This can be the Sports Minister, this can be the Deputy Prime Minister (Dmitry) Chernyshenko, this can be an ambassador, they are working with everyone there."

Kremlev and Bach have clashed in the past with the Russian making a fierce attack on senior IOC officials last August, saying they were "like prostitutes in sports, who get involved in politics and do not defend the interests of the athletes".

Umar Kremlev with Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh and world champion Nikhat Zareen. GETTY IMAGES
Umar Kremlev with Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh and world champion Nikhat Zareen. GETTY IMAGES

Hailing the presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch, who led the IOC between 1980 and 2001, Kremlev added, "Samaranch was a great example of a sports leader, who fought for the interests of all athletes, of all sports and all national federations. And we know that, during the presidency of Thomas Bach, corruption entered the IOC.

"I'm not afraid to say it, they are afraid of what I say. Because we have a reputation and they are afraid that the truth will come out."

Last December, Kremlev said, "Thomas Bach holds a position he doesn't deserve. Athletes are treated like slaves; they take away everything they have. All officials want money. All that money belongs to the athletes, and yet, those officials make millions of dollars; they have cheap plane tickets, five-star hotels... Do you know where athletes live? With lice and in terrible conditions."

In IBA's summary of 2023, Kremlev stated, "If boxing leaves the Olympic Games, it is not boxing that loses, but the Olympic Games."

World Boxing, headed by former IBA presidential candidate Boris van der Vorst, is seeking to fill the gap left by IBA with the IOC saying it needs a partner international federation for boxing by early 2025 if the sport is to appear at Los Angeles 2028. IBA claimed last week in a statement that World Boxing - which it referred to throughout as "World Boxing" - is "incapable of supporting national federations around the world at any level".