By Jonny Stapleton
Dublin boxing clubs could be left without any government funding unless the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) implements “very practical reforms”, Minister of Sport Jack Chambers has warned.
Clubs across the country already face 15 per cent per cent funding cuts as well as restrictions on grants after IABA members overwhelmingly voted against proposed governance reforms at an emergency general meeting in Roscommon last weekend.
Disappointed with the outcome, Sport Ireland has since said it will implement financial sanctions on the amateur boxing governing body until changes are implemented.
The financial punishments won’t affect High Performance funded athletes but will come into play as soon as next week – and if changes are not seen to be made by next year more severe sanctions will be put in place.
Minister Chambers said: “We have to set basic standards in sport. We’re giving two months for the IABA board to come back with positive steps on how they propose to reform and bring governance.
“If we don’t receive that by the middle of September, Sport Ireland will be communicating to the IABA that there will be an escalation of the current position, and in 2023 if there’s no reform there will be no funding at all.
“If there’s no reform we cannot continue to fund IABA in its current governance structure.
“I’m being very clear to those who run IABA that they need to embrace the basic levels of reform. The proposed reforms are very practical and basic. We cannot have the ongoing dysfunction.”
Motion One, which was proposed and rejected, proposed expanding the board from its current 10 members to 12. This newly constituted board would include six 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.
39% of affiliated boxing clubs registered to send voting delegates meaning 105 voting delegates attended the meeting, they represent 31% of clubs and voted against Motion One, by 80 votes to 25.
Speaking on the vote against Motion One, IABACEO, Fergal Carruth said: “The Minister’s message was very clear and boxing clubs may very soon find their ability to access local authority grants, and other funding, severely curtailed.
“This decision will potentially adversely impact clubs and boxers. The IABA Board and executive team will continue to work towards engaging with our stakeholders to attempt to resolve this as a matter of urgency.”
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