IABA respond to Minster’s ‘severe sanctions’ threat

The IABA says Minister Jack Chambers’ comments will “focus minds” on the decisions faced by the association going into the EGM next month but warn there may be serious resistance to the changes called for.

The Minister of State for Sport was very critical of the governing body when speaking to RTE today.

Minster Chambers stated that the changes recommended by an independent governance report must be implemented or “immediate and severe financial sanctions” would be enforced.

The IABA have taken note of the comments but have predicted they will receive opposition to the changes outlined in the report, particularly around the formation of a new 12-strong ruling body with a number of independent members.

In a statement released this evening they said:

“The IABA is acutely aware of the need for reform in the volunteer structures of the association. The Minister’s comments today (on the “Today with Claire Byrne” programme) will serve to focus minds on the gravity of the choice facing Irish boxing – to evolve into an association with the highest standards of governance, or to reject reform and face damaging constraints on our sport. The scale of reform recommended in the report is profound and impacts virtually all areas of operation of the volunteer structures of the association.

“The governance report was shared with all boxing clubs, county boards and provincial units on May 10th, in preparation for our forthcoming EGM. In that sharing, the IABA has placed particular, but not exclusive, emphasis on the reform of the structure of the association’s board, and its expansion to include additional independent members, from which the implementation of all other reforms will flow. This matter will be put before members at the EGM and members will be asked to initially support the changes within the Teneo Governance review of IABA 2022 in relation to the board. That is, that all recommendations that are set out in the review on the constitution of the board of IABA are accepted.

“If the recommendations are adopted by the at the members at the EGM, the IABA will be engage, fully, with all monitoring and change management structures applied by Sport Ireland. IABA also commits to publishing an implementation plan within the timescale outlined by the Minister today.

“IABA’s ability to implement the required reforms is contingent upon a democratic ballot of boxing clubs and their members. IABA is already aware of staunch opposition among some long-standing volunteer members to the primary recommendations proposed in the review. The IABA hopes that the minister’s comments today on the immediacy and severity of financial sanctions will give those members pause and motivate them to think on what is in the best interests of the sport they love.

“The IABA notes the Minister’s comments on the resignation of Bernard Dunne as High Performance Director. IABA asked Bernard to reconsider his resignation, a request reiterated at last Monday’s board meeting. IABA considers the anonymous document disseminated in February of 2021 to be a malicious and appalling attack on a member of staff.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com