Irish Athletic Boxing Association set to have its funding cut if reform is not implemented

Irish Athletic Boxing Association set to have its funding cut if reform is not implemented

THE IRISH Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) is set to receive a cut in government funding after its members voted against proposals seeking reform.

At an emergency general meting in Roscommon yesterday, members voted against two motions, the first of which sought to expand the board from its current 10 to 12 members.

This newly constituted board would include 6 independent members, along with athlete and coach representatives, whilst also addressing the lack of female representation on the board. The new board would then be tasked with deciding how to deal with the remaining recommendations in the recently published IABA Governance Review.

A second motion was also rejected, which sought to allow AGMs or EGMs to take place anywhere on the island of Ireland.

39% of affiliated boxing clubs registered to send voting delegates, who voted against the first motion by 80 votes to 25, and the second by 68 to 35.

The rejections come despite a threat from government that a failure to implement changes would lead to a 15% reduction in public funding, beginning this month.

Prior to the meeting, Minister for Sport Jack Chambers had informed the organisation of the consequences of failing to implement the changes.

He warned the IABA and clubs will not be able to access Dormant Accounts funding, or Sports Capital & Equipment Grants. Funding through local authorities will also be curtailed and an increasing level of funding cuts will be introduced over the coming months.

Sport Ireland Return to Sport grants, which this year enabled the IABA to pay the full insurance and affiliation costs for every affiliated club in Ireland, will also no longer be available.

This information was shared with clubs, county boards and provincial units in advance of yesterday’s meeting.

Chairperson, Ciaran Kirwan, said:

“The results of the vote on Motion One are extremely disappointing, and require a period of reflection in order to fully understand club’s reasons to vote no, in the knowledge of the implications of that decision."

Speaking about the second motion, he said he was "deeply troubled" by the result.

"Those who voted against it need to examine why they are seeking to place Ulster clubs on a separate footing to those in the 26 counties. Ulster has long been a hub of boxing excellence, and has produced Olympic medallists, World and European champions.

"I am shocked that clubs would decide against Boxing being a truly all island sport," he said.

CEO Fergal Carruth said "it was difficult to understand how so many delegates voted against this motion in circumstances where not one single delegate spoke against the motion."

"The message it sends to the Ulster Boxing Council, clubs in the North of Ireland and our boxers, is a stark one. It is imperative that the Board engage and consult with our membership to get to the route of the reasons behind this decision."

Speaking on Morning Ireland today, Minister for Sport Jack Chambers said that basic standards need to be met in sport.

"If there's no reform we cannot continue to fund IABA in its current governance structure," he said.

"I'm being very clear to those who run IABA that they need to embrace the basic levels of reform. The proposed reforms are very practical and basic. We cannot have the ongoing dysfunction."

The minister confirmed that high performance athletes, who are in the middle of an Olympic cycle, will be protected and funding related to them will be ringfenced.

"We cannot continue with the status quo. We need to speaking about supporting and building grassroots boxing right through to High Performance.

"I want to support them. The members themselves have decided to follow through with this. It's a marginal cut in funding, 15%, and it is a crisis of their own making as an organisation. They have a clear choice of getting the threshold of funding they were allocated but even more this year, above and beyond what they got last year, if they embrace reform."