Irish Sports Council Chief threatens funding cut for Irish boxers

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Irish Sports Council chief John Treacy has warned that boxing is in line for a cut in funding following a medal-less Rio Olympics.

Drug test failure, weight issues, scandalous judging, under-performance, and superior opponents, all combined to ensure that the eight-person Irish team secured no silverware for the first Olympics since 2004.

This result leaves funding under threat, despite continuous high achievement over the past few years – including nine major international medals in 2015 and a record number of boxers qualified for the 2016 Olympics.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Treacy explained that “if you are not performing it will affect funding, without a shadow of a doubt.”

“If sports are not following what we believe is the right path in terms of high performance, you would see reductions in high performance funding.”

When asked directly about the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, Treacy described how “that is a matter for the board of Sport Ireland but we would be carrying out a high performance review, and that work is now starting.”

“We will look at the boxing programme and the reasons why it didn’t perform as expected.”

One factor which seemed to be a major issue for Treacy was the Irish boxers lack of use of the new new high performance gym at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown.

The €4m facility was not regularly used by the team in the build-up to Rio – however boxers such as Paddy Barnes regularly complained about not being moved there.

Treacy noted that “they didn’t want to move out of South Circular Road because they thought it might be disruptive to the team. There is a world class gym here for boxers.”

“We want to see them in here on a regular basis. That will have to happen.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie