30th September 2016
Following what has been a difficult number of weeks for our sport, I write to provide an update in respect of a number of issues. Given the considerable media interest and public commentary on boxing around the Olympics Games, the issues outlined below are of particular importance at this time:
- In keeping with practice established over recent Olympic cycles, a review of the Games will be carried out by an independent consultant, supported by Sport Ireland, and will cover every aspect of the High Performance Programme over the four years from London to Rio.
It is expected that the Rio Review will be completed by early December and when that report is available, it will be disseminated to IABA stakeholders.
- The IABA has written to AIBA to express the concerns of all who love our sport about the judging at the Olympic Games. We were also in contact with Boxing Canada, which released a statement during the Games raising similar concerns.
Further developments in terms of our interactions with the international federation on this matter will be communicated to our stakeholders.
- On foot of the alleged anti-doping violation by one of our Olympic-qualified boxer, there is a disciplinary process to be completed under Irish Sport Anti-Doping Rules. An outcome from the Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel is anticipated in early course. As the National Governing Body (NGB) with responsibility for promoting clean sport in conjunction with Sport Ireland, we are prohibited from commenting while the process is on-going.
We remain, however, committed to playing our part in the Irish Anti-Doping Programme and will continue to uphold the rules; promote clean sport and facilitate education programmes for our coaches and boxers.
- As has been widely reported, two boxers breached the conditions of participation by gambling at the Games and have been sanctioned by the IOC. On receipt of a formal report on the matter, the board of directors will consider if any further proceedings are merited. The boxers, their coaches and their clubs will be kept fully informed of developments.
- There has been some commentary around future Sport Ireland funding for Irish boxing. We work with Sport Ireland officials on an ongoing basis and we have not been advised of any changes to the grant application and administration process for 2017 funding.
The results in Rio, together with the challenges arising from the impression created by the judging at a number of the bouts, will undoubtedly be taken into account when the levels of funds to be awarded in the coming period are decided. By the same token, we trust that the 52 international medals won by Irish boxers since the start of 2015 together with our successful record at previous Olympic Games will also be brought to bear on these deliberations. The work to prepare a grant application for both NGB (core) funding, and High Performance funding on behalf of our sport is well underway. As in previous funding cycles for NGBs, a public announcement as to the level of funding is expected as soon as Sport Ireland can complete its deliberative processes.
- Members of the High Performance Programme have used and will continue to make use of the boxing facilities at the National Sports Campus. It is expected that as the facilities currently under development are completed, and the ancillary services, which are required to run the programme become available, then the frequency and intensity of our boxers’ usage of those facilities will increase.
Further work in conjunction with those in charge of the National Sports Campus facilities is a key part of planning for 2017 and beyond and will form part of our funding submissions in the coming weeks.
- The work to develop a plan for the development and promotion of boxing in Ireland for 2017 to 2020 is currently underway. Key stakeholders like our clubs, the County Boards and Provincial Councils, funders and sponsors have been advised about the consultation process. Active participation in the process is required to ensure the views of all involved in Irish boxing are incorporated so your involvement is very much appreciated. The outputs from the Rio Review will be fully incorporated into the overall plan – IABA Strategy 2020, which is due to be completed by December 2016.
I know it goes without saying that each of us is absolutely committed to the future development and success of Irish boxing at all levels. Rio is the first Olympics since Athens 2004 in which a boxer did not win a medal. Despite this, we are confident that given 52 medals have been won across all levels and ages since 2015, that there is a very solid platform for future success.
The sustained effort of the leaders of our clubs means that more people than ever have the opportunity to participate. The number of young people in boxing is very strong and we continue to enjoy the support of the Department and other agencies in securing the resources to improve our facilities. The time and expertise that each of you contributes, in terms of the scale of activity and in committing to excellence, mean that we can be confident of retaining our status as Ireland’s most successful sport – both in offering a great sport for people to get involved in, and for those with the talent and dedication to succeed at the highest level on the international stage.
I look forward to seeing many of the boxing family at the Convention this Sunday and I have no doubt that some of the issues covered here will be considered in further detail. I also look forward to your contributions to the process to influence our next four years in the course of the development of IABA Strategy 2020.
I must also give special mention to outgoing IABA Secretary, Sean Crowley who has been a great stalwart to Irish Boxing serving for almost 2o years. His vast experience will be greatly missed and I would like to extend our thanks to him for his great work throughout the years.
On behalf of the staff and the Board of Directors, I thank all our volunteers for your commitment, support and dedication to fostering boxing at Club, County, Provincial, National, and International level and helping to strengthen communities throughout Ireland.
Chief Executive Officer