IABA Chair & CEO Statement, Following Meetings with the Minister for Sport.

“The Irish Boxing Family faces a pivotal choice on July 10th, a choice which will affect how every club in Ireland evolves – that is, to embrace the highest standards of governance or face long-term damaging restrictions on our sport” so say the Chairperson of IABA’s Board, Ciarán Kirwan, and the association’s Chief Executive, Fergal Carruth, ahead of IABA’s EGM and following last night’s meeting with the Minister for Sport, Jack Chambers.

Delegates from Ireland’s 338 affiliated clubs will be asked to vote on the composition of the IABA’s board, expanding the board from its current 10 members to 12. If approved, this newly constituted board will 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.

The Minister has informed the Board of Directors that a decision to reject this change will mean an immediate 15% cut in funding to the IABA, beginning this month. The IABA and clubs will not be able to access Dormant Accounts funding, or Sports Capital & Equipment Grants. Funding through local authorities will 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 no longer be available.

Chairperson of IABA’s Board of Directors, Ciarán Kirwan says “The scale of the choice facing Irish Boxing shouldn’t be underestimated, but with all change comes opportunity. Boxers create and exploit opportunities in every bout. So, too, must we. Like any bout, this won’t be easy – but the prospect of a battle has never daunted any boxer or coach. We must be as fearless. “

“The consequences of choosing not to reform, or choosing not to enter our second phase, are grim. The Minister for Sport has been very clear – boxing will face funding cuts. Boxing will be constrained. We cannot allow this fate for Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport – indeed, we cannot allow this fate for the sport which has brought Ireland two World Championship titles this year. The power to prevent this fate lies with every club in Ireland – the decision is theirs, and theirs alone”, Mr. Kirwan said.

IABA’s Chief Executive, Fergal Carruth, says “We know that proposed changes to the Office of the President have concerned many in the boxing family. The Office has been largely unchanged since 1911, and the President rightly commands the respect of all boxers and clubs. The proposals will ensure the dignity and integrity of the Office of President is enshrined in IABA’s constitution. They will further ensure that the President’s insightand knowledge can continue to influence decision-making at Board level.”

“The proposals will elevate the Office of the President above politics within our sport. The Office of the President of the IABA will, if Motion One passes, become the jewel in the crown of Irish Boxing. The President will be an ambassador for boxing, not only across Irish society, but an Ambassador for Irish Boxing across the world.”, said Mr. Carruth.

IABA has striven to ensure all members, not solely voting delegates, have had the opportunity to access information on the review, its recommendations, and their implementation. In addition to publishing the review and sharing it will all clubs and units, two workshops have taken place on the document, hosted by its author, Brian MacNiece. These workshops were open to any adult member of any boxing club to attend. The footage of the workshops were published and shared with all clubs and units. IABA also held workshops for the Board of Directors and the Officer Board of the Central Council. In addition, the IABA has facilitated briefings of the Board by Sport Ireland on the governance review; and last night met with the Minister for Sport, Jack Chambers, on the foreseeable impacts of voting against change.

The bar for choosing a clear road forward for Irish Boxing is a high one – 60 voting delegates must attend the EGM in order for it to take place.  75% of that electorate must vote to embrace Motion One for it to pass. The IABA recognises the challenges in uniting the Irish Boxing family in a change of this magnitude, given staunch opposition to the proposals. The IABA also acknowledges that many clubs are fatigued by conflict and may choose not to engage with the EGM – not through a lack of love of their sport, but through a feeling of powerlessness. The IABA urges clubs to grasp that power on July 10th, and vote for the future of Irish Boxing.

The following members of the IABA’s Board of Directors have pledged their wholehearted backing for reform:

  • Dominic O’Rourke- IABA Board Member – National President
  • Ted Barry- Munster- IABA Board Member- Munster
  • Andrew Duncan – IABA Board Member – Leinster
  • Charlie Toland – IABA Board Member – Ulster
  • Tom Geraghty- IABA Board Member -Connacht  

IABA does not intend to issue further comment until registered delegates of affiliated clubs have exercised their democratic right to vote at Sunday’s EGM.

  • The suite of EGM documents is attached.
  • IABA Governance Workshop One
  • IABA Governance Workshop Two