Boxing News – IABA club membership & its HPU Unit- “A Family at War”

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There’s never a dull moment at the IABA – that’s for sure. We’ve reported several outbreaks of “infighting” in the past, some involving Sport Ireland, or the then Olympic Council of Ireland (remember the Billy Walsh affair)?

The United States has gained one of the world’s most respected coaches – a massive loss to Irish boxing. Next to go was Eddie Bolger now the German Head Coach who like Walsh before him, was a huge supporting member of the HPU.team that was the envy of many countries. There is no suggestion though that Bolger was ‘sacked’.

More recently the IABA disposed of the services of another top coach, remember Billy McClean and his eventual settlement as Sean McGoldrick rightly commented at the time in the ‘Sunday World”; “Outside the ring, a series of bitter disputes have deepened a split within the Board of Directors of the IABA itself, and between the Board and the grassroots of the association.

Now we learn of an even more dramatic Board of Directors meeting on Monday night. This was a meeting of the BoD which itself had been postponed from three weeks earlier due to internal wrangles .. Alas, passions had not ‘calmed down and this week’s meeting ended in even greater turmoil. with more to follow. At the original meeting, all 6 units of the IABA had agreed to a 6 months extension for the HPU Coaching Director, Bernard Dunne – alas it was not to be a ‘done deal’.

Though that appeared a sensible solution alas it was not to be adopted as an unknown individual (clearly someone who had access to ALL of the documentation) had shown the proposal to the HPU Director. Is there a ‘mole’ in the camp at the IABA and if so time that that individual was outed? In any sane organisation that would have been the case

The HPU Director at that juncture is understood to have threatened legal action. The IABA President, Kildare’s Dominic O’Rourke abstained from the vote taken on Monday night and thus the vote was lost 4-3 as Ulster President Kevin Duffy also opted for two years.

What next? No ‘rank and file’ sane boxing club can surely allow the Association they pay membership fees to operate in such a clandestine manner. What next? Will some poor provincial club be threatened with expulsion for having allowed some club members to train in the pandemic?

Will some young boxer be barred from tournaments for practising outdoors? Anything goes with this crazy organisation, once created and operated for the benefits of its member, Now alas anything goes it seems and the membership is more than annoyed so we can expect further internal wrangling – and more fireworks -in the coming days and weeks.

SportsNewsIreland can but strongly recommend that it is time that the Government’s Sports chiefs IMMEDIATELY intervene? The Minister of Sport, Jack Chambers and Catherine Martin, the overall boss of the Dept of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht & Media, to intervene before even more damage is done to Irish boxing, the country’s most successful Olympic sport. Time for the ‘grassroots’ of the IABA to flourish once more.

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