IABA secretary quits as ‘leaders not putting boxing first’

Joe Christle - recognised by Sport Ireland.

The secretary of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has resigned amid a deepening boardroom crisis within the organisation.

Al Morris was considering his position over the weekend but waited until yesterday to officially throw in the towel. 

“After long deliberation and great sadness, I feel I have no alternative but to hand in my resignation as honorary secretary of IABA,” he said in his resignation letter.

Wicklow-native Morris believes the sport deserves better leadership and that the IABA board are not putting boxing first. 

The Board of Directors is split, with four Central Council members - including IABA president Pat Ryan – in David O’Brien’s corner and others - including Ciaran Kirwan - backing Joe Christle, who is recognised by Sport Ireland. 

However, at meeting of the IABA Central Council last Saturday, David O’Brien’s election as chairman of the Board on March 27 last was overwhelmingly ratified by the Central Council.

The board is due to meet the National Stadium tomorrow night with the Sport Ireland threat to cut funding by the end of the month - unless proper governance is in place and a new rule book is introduced — hanging over its head.

Morris added: “Over the past two years, the IABA has gone downhill and the fun and enjoyment I have got from my love of boxing has gone due to the politics, ego, and power trips of some in the organisation. 

"The last straw is this “Them and Us” attitude coming into our sport with Central Council, CEO and board of directors filtering down to all in the sport, and this I blame on the leaders who are not putting boxing first.

“All the great work by coaches, officials, and administrators at club, county board, and provincial level is being undermined by the people who should be bringing everyone together but are only dividing for their egos, and as figureheads are a disgrace to sport. The hard-working volunteers deserve better leadership.

“All are of equal fault and should step down in the interest of our sport for the benefit of our great young boxers as well as the hundreds of volunteers who deserve better.

“I intend to stay in the sport I love and shall always be working in my local club and will continue to help in boxing wherever I can.”

Meanwhile, some of Ireland’s nine-strong squad will be in action over the weekend at the European Men’s Championships in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 

The Irish squad are in their final training camp in Kharkiv for more than a week. 

Boxing begins on Friday in Kharkiv at the sole qualifier for Europeans for the World Championships in Hamburg, Germany in August and September.


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