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Boxing Canada’s high-performance director has accreditation pulled amid allegations of toxic culture

Boxing Canada’s high-performance director has accreditation pulled amid allegations of toxic culture

The International Boxing Association wants Canada’s high performance director Daniel Trepanier banned from the women’s world championships. In a letter sent to Boxing Canada on Friday, the IBA said it has pulled Trepanier’s accreditation for the world championships that open Sunday in Istanbul.

A Canadian boxer is shown throwing a punch during a fight at the Tokyo Olympics. The International Boxing Association says its integrity officer and ethics committee would be reviewing claims against Canada’s Daniel Trepanier and the national organization after 233 current and retired boxers wrote to Sport Canada alleging a toxic culture in their sport. (Buda Mendies/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Boxing Association wants Canada’s high performance director Daniel Trepanier banned from the women’s world championships.

In a letter sent to Boxing Canada on Friday, the IBA said it has pulled Trepanier’s accreditation for the world championships that open Sunday in Istanbul.

The IBA also said in the letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, that its integrity officer and ethics committee would be reviewing claims against Trepanier and the national organization after 121 current and retired boxers — a number that’s since grown to 233 — wrote to Sport Canada alleging a toxic culture in their sport.

« The safeguarding of athletes here in Istanbul is an absolute priority that I hope we share, » the IBA’s secretary general Istvan Kovacs said in his letter to Boxing Canada president Ryan Savage. « Meanwhile, the safeguarding of boxers and the boxing community more widely is, and will remain, a priority for the current IBA leadership team. »

Neither Trepanier nor the Canadian athletes had checked into their hotel Friday when the letter was sent, and the IBA planned to set aside Trepanier’s accreditation.

« I would ask you to urgently consider whether you feel Mr. Trepanier’s presence in Istanbul is appropriate and whether it would be appropriate to separate him from other members of your team with immediate effect, » the IBA wrote.

Kovacs asked for a response by 5 p.m. ET Friday, « at which point the IBA will consider whether it is necessary to ask the IBA Ethics Committee to consider the case of Mr. Trepanier as a matter of urgency, with a view to a provisional sanction against him in order to safeguard participants here in Istanbul. »

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Several Canadian officials copied on email

Trepanier did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment from The Canadian Press.

Vicki Walker, Sport Canada’s director general, Canada’s Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, Own the Podium CEO Anne Merklinger, Canadian Olympic Committee president Trisha Smith, AthletesCan president Erin Wilson and Bernhard Welten, chair of the international boxing federation’s ethics commission, were copied on the email.

Canada has four women competing at the world championships, which are being held for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic: Priyanka Dhillon (48 kg.), Scarlett Delgado (54 kg.), Charlie Cavanagh (66 kg.), and Tammara Thibeault (75 kg.).

« I would be grateful if you would please outline what measures you have already in place and/or intend to put in place to safeguard the members of your team currently participating in Istanbul from abuse, » Kovacs said. « Please be aware that IBA is likely to make contact directly with your team here, to inform them of the safeguarding measures that IBA has in place. »

‘Should have been fired’

World and national medallists were among the athletes who signed Wednesday’s letter asking both for an independent investigation and the resignation of Trepanier.

Three-time world champion Mary Spencer told The Canadian Press that Trepanier « should have been fired a long time ago. »

Two-time Canadian super heavyweight champion Chris Bernier alleged rampant favouritism.

« [Trepanier] 100-per-cent set us up to fail, he’d set up an obligation, but the obligation was unfulfillable, it was impossible to do it, » Bernier said. « That situation was a landmine, and he was looking for me just to step on it. »

In their open letter Wednesday, the athletes said a comprehensive collection of athletes’ experiences was presented to Boxing Canada’s board of directors last year, and no investigation was launched.

« The open letter says: ‘Boxing Canada has been made aware of these concerns but has failed to take action.’ This is a matter of great concern to us. Please be aware that IBA is likely to seek further details, » Kovacs said.

The IBA has asked that that document be sent to the IBA Integrity Officer, « together with a description of if and how it was treated, including notably evidence that the matter has been referred to Boxing Canada’s Ethics Committee or any similar body in Canada. »

The IBA said it also planned to follow up with Spencer on her experiences with Boxing Canada.

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