Boxing News : The IABA in crisis – YES, yet again – Mon Dieu!

Usually reliable sources in Irish boxing circles suggest that Sunday’s AGM of the IABA at the Ringside Club, National Stadium is likely to be the most controversial in the Association’s 106  years history with various factions battling each other for supremacy.

Overnight reports emerged of  yet another dispute this time after the IABA Board of Directors had agreed to a re-run of the previous Ulster Boxing Council elections, resulting in a different result and the removal of the both President Paul McMahon and Secretary, Sadie Duffy. Indeed the latter “recount” was overseen by IABA appointed external accountants.

So is everyone now agreed that Kevin Duffy and Charlie Toland are respectively the new President and Secretary?   The answer to that one is  NO.  As the original verdict and now Sunday’s results of the re-run are being disputed we seemingly have TWO ‘Presidents’, TWO ‘Secretaries’ and that is only in Ulster.


Happily the other Provinces have but one of each. Remember too that it was only a few months back that we had TWO IABA Chairmen though that was later resolved.


Informed sources today  indicate  that the ‘Just Sport Ireland’ (JSI)  arbitration panel, (which enjoys the full support of over 90 Irish  sporting  National Governing bodies) has been ‘invited’ to mediate between the ‘warring factions’. That too could cause ructions at the AGM unless resolved before then.  Intriguingly it seems that the request has come from the Legal team of IABA’s Central Boxing Council. So effectively it is IABA v IABA in a battle of the heavyweights.


Even so there remains the  even greater source  of disagreement which has resulted in the IABA Board introducing a new Rule Book but the same body’s Central Council (which represents clubs) disagreed and  put place an alternative version .


IF the Ulster dispute is ‘taken onboard by the JSI’ , can, we wondered, even  THEIR decision be appealed and if so how?


A decision of a JSI Arbitration Panel MAY be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne IF the rules of the sporting organisation involved in the appeal allow for such an appeal. Otherwise, the decision handed down by the JSI Arbitrator is final and binding. Where such an appeal is permissible, the appeal must be lodged within 21 days of the JSI Arbitration Panel’s decision.


The real question though insofar as the IABA is concerned  is this : Is the IABA in its present format and with its current structure REALLY ‘Fit For Purpose’?   The answer to that seems a clear NO so maybe it is time for Sport Ireland, the Dept. of Transport, Tourism and Sport to intervene and set about forming a NEW body to govern the former ‘amateur’ sport in Ireland?


Where are Shane Ross and Brendan Griffin when needed? Certainly Kieran Mulvey and John Tracy should step in.


If something does not happen soon then not only will we lose more key boxers to the Pro ranks, especially promising  young males, but also will bring into further dispute an organisation which would be in serious trouble already if their own International Boxing Association (AIBA) was not itself embroiled in internal power struggles which have already seen one court battle and now seems set for higher courts and for the International Olympic Committee.


To be brutally honest it is impossible to believe that these latest IABA disputes can ever be resolved with the Board of Directors and the Boxing Council always ‘tearing each other’ apart. Even if a “temporary truce” is negotiated, it looks odds on that another situation will arise which will lead eventually to a breakaway organisation being formed.


As things stand how long before the issue of selection of Irish teams is raised again and with it the authority of the High Performance Unit Director Bernard Dunne. That’s still a burning topic in certain quarters.


Time for the existing ‘key players’ on BOTH SIDES to ‘be retired’ methinks  and that NEW young and more enlightened  officials are put in place who will work together as a unit for the sake of the boxers, the clubs and all in the sport  they have full responsibility for promoting and overseeing in Ireland. After all it IS the clubs who provide the team and vast financial support through their annual subscriptions ,ever increasing.



More that time to ‘ change the guard’ down the South Circular Road. If not then this will be a long running saga and settled only in the courts with all the legal fees involved likely to put the Association’s financial stability in doubt.  When oh when will they ever learn that they are here to serve and protect Ireland’s most successful Olympic and International sport in terms of medals won.



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