Irish boxing officials led by CEO Fergal Carruth and ‘Chairman’ (or is he?) Joe Christle have been summoned to Government Buildings Tuesday by Sports Minister, Patrick O’Donovan and face a severe ‘dressing down’ for failure to implement – as previously agreed – the findings of the Rio Review into the reasons why so many ‘cast iron ‘certs for a medal failed to deliver and even more importantly why some of the boxing team were involved in controversies involving betting and allegedly doping. Above all the question will be : why have the Review recommendations NOT been implemented?
Among those recommendations was the fact that the HP Unit(then based at the National Stadium) was to come under the direct control of the High Performance Director (Bernard Dunne was later anointed as the ‘chosen one’) and moved from the Stadium to the HP Centre at the Irish Institute of Sport in Abbotstown.
The move took place but there has been no let-up in “internal wrangling” between the IABA Board and the Central Council. Each body tries to outscore and outpoint the other
and there are already signs of several top boxers not even training in Dublin but ‘doing their own thing’.
As we’ve said here previously one of the main proposals from the Rio Review (boxing element) was that:
“High-Performance Programme – under the leadership of an experienced and qualified High-Performance Director – should have full autonomy for all elements of the programme, including management of the Board-approved budget and finances assigned to the programme, as well as selection of squads.”
Clearly though Bernard Dunne and especially Sport Ireland do not feel that that has been implemented, indeed is has been widely reported that Bernard Dunne’s position was severely weakened when he was NOT appointed as Irish Team Manager for the forthcoming European Championships now but weeks away in Kharkiv, Ukraine. A case of the Central Council flexing their muscles, though it has NOT gone down well with Sport Ireland or Minister O’Donovan.
There is a very clear threat here that funding could be ‘temporarily withheld’ by Sport Ireland if the Rio Review recommendations are not implemented in full by 30th June and that will be re-emphasised today.
Team Manager title went to the highly respected Munster Council President (and Dungarvan BC’s supremo) Gerry O’Mahony. At today’s meeting it seems ‘highly likely’ that Dunne will be reinstated as Team Manager with overall control and that O’Mahony may be confirmed as Head of Delegation .
Another ‘hiccup’ but one with major implications for future is that several Irish boxers are no longer training at the HPU Unit in Abbotstown, among them Conor Wallace, Willie O’Donoghue and Michael Gallagher with others said to be considering similar moves
Neil Loughran in the “Irish News” quotes Newry’s Wallace, thus: “They were looking me back down but there’s no point me going to Dublin,” said Wallace, who now boxes out of the Holy Family club in Drogheda but gets no funding from the sporting bodies whose own funds were reduced by Euros 200,000 following the failures in Rio.
“It doesn’t pay me to go to Dublin – I have my own personal training business at home, I can train full-time at home and get wages. If I go to Dublin, it actually costs me money.”
So what now for Wallace? “There’s no point in me going to Dublin if it’s not going anywhere,” he continued.
“What I’m focused on now is the Commonwealth Games. I’m not focused on anything to do with Ireland because it’s all sewn up. Until Joe Ward goes pro, there’s no point in me going to Dublin.
“Until that happens I’m just going to keep myself fit and once he goes pro, I’m ready.”
Joe Christle is listed as the Chairman but the Boxing Council do not agree. Indeed in fairness they have not agreed for months now. Waterford’s David O’Brien reckons HE is Chairman and was voted to the position at a meeting on 26th March but is he?
We’ve said here before – and repeat again and again – that the IABA in its present format is simply NOT fit for purpose. Hopefully sooner rather than later the combination of Sport Ireland and Sports Minister will put a stop to this infighting and if need be ensure that with the support of the AIBA and EUBC plus that of Olympic Council this circus will not be allowed to continue.
Heads MUST roll and sooner rather than later or Irish boxing will be in the doldrums for many years to come. Last week AIBA President CK Wu visited Scotland – is it not about time that he paid that long promised visit to Dublin
It is not impossible that there could be a breakaway group which would include Boxing Council members clubs, coaches and some boxers but could they survive without Sport Ireland/Government funding? Perhaps for a short time but not in long run and any such split would have long term catastrophic effects as the breakaway group would not be allowed to take part in IABA championships nor represent Ireland in Europeans, in Worlds or in Olympics.
Who IS Chairman of IABA? Kevin Byrne of the Irish Sun had this to say in late March but the answer has not yet been agreed between IABA Exec & the Central Council and both ‘warring factions’ now have their own version of the all-important ‘rule book’. Time to put a stop once and for all to this long running pantomime.
Kevin Byrne on the latest developments in the IABA crisis via Twitter
Finally and most important the Rio 2016 Boxing Review Recommendations from SPORT IRELAND: