IABA face 'immediate and severe sanctions' without reform

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers has set a timeline for the IABA to adopt recommended guidelines for reform or face sanctions which would threaten the future of the organisation
IABA face 'immediate and severe sanctions' without reform

Minister Jack Chambers has described the document critical of Bernard Dunne as "a disgrace" ©INPHO/James Crombie

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers has set a timeline for the Irish Athletic Boxing Association to adopt recommended guidelines for reform or face ‘immediate and severe financial sanctions’ which would threaten the future of the organisation.

A recently commissioned independent report has suggested adopting a new structure within IABA which would include a new 12-member Board of Directors to oversee its running, half of which would be independent.

Bernard Dunne stepped down from his role as high performance director after he had lodged a complaint with the IABA CEO Fergal Carruth in November.

He said his position had been undermined after an unsigned SWOT analysis which was critical of him was circulated at board level and which he considered to be highly damaging to his position.

Former high performance director Billy Walsh also came out and slammed the IABA after Dunne’s resignation.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Minister Chambers said the upcoming EGM in June is the opportunity for delegates within the IABA to bring in the recommendations of the report, which total 64 in total, or face being cut off from state funding.

Minister Chambers described the document on Dunne as "a disgrace".

He said: "We can't and will not be funding behaviour like this and governance disfunction. I want to see boxing fully embrace and support the recommendations in the review.

"They will have to produce an implementation plan within three months at the latest.

"The anonymous and malicious document right before the Olympics undermining Bernard Dunne and the High Performance Unit was frankly a disgrace.

"We have a high performance strategy which we have approved as a government which puts directors and units at the heart of every sporting organisation. That applies to boxing.

"I absolutely share the concerns of Billy Walsh and Bernard Dunne and that is why I am saying as a bottom line there will have to be a full implementation of the recommendations as outlined."

Minister Chambers also said he hoped Dunne would return to his role.

"I would love to see Bernard Dunne return. If IABA is serious after their EGM about implementing the recommendations, I would love to see the door open for Bernard Dunne to return.

"But IABA needs to be serious about implementing them."

"Those recommendations and timelines around them will have to be agreed with Sport Ireland. They will be monitored monthly by Sport Ireland. I want to make it clear we won't be seeing this continuity of conflict and internal battles.

"We cannot have individuals on a board or council deciding who is being selected on a particular team.

"Bringing in 12 directors with half of them independent on the board, you'll see very significant change happening if the recommendations are implemented.

"Boxing and members of boxing have a clear choice if they want to embrace reform. If they don't embrace it in the timelines outlined, it will have an impact on their core funding as organisation including for capital and equipment.

"What is happening now is we’re discussing individuals who have a malicious intent within the organisation trying to undermine the likes of Bernard Dunne and Billy Walsh in the past.

"They need to be isolated and removed from the core running of boxing. It’s undermining the athletes, degrading the grassroots and could lead to losing future potential.

"I am determined as minister to show there will be full consequences if they do no implement the recommendations and that’s the minimum from me.”

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