The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) sanctioned the creation of An equality and governance advisory group (EGAG) in December 2015. The Groups purpose is to promote equality and to eliminate sectarianism and racism within the sport.


The IABA Chief Executive Officer Fergal Carruth explains; In December 2013 we commissioned a detailed report into examining sectarianism and racism in boxing in Ulster. As a result the IABA learnt some valuable lessons which they have acted upon and now wish to put in place further measures and procedures to mitigate and eliminate any incidents of such nature within our sport.  We at the IABA are making a commitment to Equality and Good Governance and this will be demonstrated through not only the work of this group, but the changes to our programmes and amendments to our procedures.


Pat Ryan, IABA President and EGAG chair is excited to be leading the group and had this to say; ” The IABA want to be at the forefront of best practice in Equality and Governance, and the creation of this group, shows our commitment to setting the high standards, both in and outside of the ring. We have a lot of hard work ahead, but this mindset of being the best, is part of the boxing mentality. Our boxers have produced world class results in the ring, something the IABA intend to deliver on, for our membership and anyone entering our sport.


Clare McAuley the Operations Manager from Ulster is pleased with the groups progress. ” One of the biggest priorities for the group was to ensure to honour the Good Friday Agreement by outlining clear pathways for all boxers within Northern Ireland to enable them to box for either Ireland or Team GB.  Having met with all the boxing NGB’s in the UK; England Boxing, Boxing Scotland, Welsh Boxing and the British Amateur Boxing Association, we managed to outline every route to box for Team GB through each of the home nations.  What we have now produced is a clear leaflet with which we can give to all boxers within Northern Ireland. When a boxer wins a national championship this is when they may be offered the chance to box internationally and so it is imperative at this point can make them aware of all international routes available to them and key considerations such as cost, accessibility, eligibility requirements and AIBA rules.  So we have produced this leaflet with a view to distributing it to any boxer who enters our High performance unit within Ulster so they can make an informed decision regards their own boxing career.


Fergal Carruth is confident that while the Group is tasked with circumnavigating some highly complex issues, that the group has continued to address the 10 recommendations with pragmatism and a common sense approach.


The group have to deliver an action plan to address the following 10 key recommendations; helping to create the optimal inclusive sporting environment for all people involved within the sport;

  1. To identify the implications of the Good Friday Agreement for national representation and implement any recommendations including devising a plan to accommodate Ulster boxers who might represent Team GB at elite level.
  2. To develop an official procedure, specifically designed to deal with incidents/potential incidents of sectarian and racist intimidation. This should include the development of penalties for failure to abide by the agreed procedure.
  3. To develop a protocol and code of conduct around the flying of national and contentious symbols.
  4. To restrict team colours to two rather than three; and that displays at clubs should be limited to these colours. A clubs failure to concede to these measures should be subject to a grievance procedure.
  5. To carry out a focused review of the governance structures in Ulster.
  6. To invest in community relations training for coaches and volunteers.
  7. To hold formal discussions with Sport NI and Local authorities in relation to the establishment of safe and neutral championship/boxing show venues.
  8. To develop a formal social media policy/code of conduct.
  9. To establish a formal selection process for coaches for the Commonwealth Games.
  10. To ensure that the Ulster Boxing Council, County Boards and all boxing clubs in Ulster continue to adhere strictly to the child protection policy and procedure in alignment with legislation and best practice.


The Equality and Governance Advisory Group is supported by an Operations Manager for Ulster, funded by Sport NI; further questions or queries on the work of the group can be directed to Mrs. Clare McAuley on Email- clare@iaba.ie or Telephone: +44 28(90) 383224.