Irish Sports Council to IABA – Bring Billy back or we will cut your funding

Irish Sports Council Chairman Kieran Mulvey has issued a stark ultimatum to the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.

The ISC, who fund the IABA’s High Performance Unit (HPU), want the IABA to grant Billy Walsh the terms they recommended back in August when the issues surrounding his departure first emerged – or else funding for High performance boxing could be cut.

On Monday, Walsh announced his resignation as Head Coach of the HPU and his intention to take a role with the US Women’s boxing team, due to a lack of control afforded to him by the IABA in relation to the HPU.

This departure had long been threatened and came to a head recently in August. Back then, the ISC suggested a new contract for Walsh with improved terms that garnered him increased control over the HPU and eliminated much of the bureaucracy which hindered the Wexford man’s running of the team.

Mulvey is not impressed with the IABA’s refusal to grant these terms and the repercussions for the IABA could be severe. Mulvey explained to RTÉ Primetime last night that “my view now is, that deal should be offered to Billy Walsh even at this late date and give up the nonsense that the IABA have been saying about this.”

“I’m effectively saying that when the new funding round for 2016 comes up, we will have to review our relationship with the IABA.”

“I want a rethink within the next 24 hours by the IABA of their total approach to this – and the acceptance of the total proposal we put to them on August 22nd”

“At the end of the day, the Irish taxpayers, through the Irish Sports Council, with the approval of the Minister, are funding it – what’s the problem?”

The ISC head was critical of the IABA’s refusal to grant Walsh greater control over the HPU, arguing that “it’s an extraordinary sport that decides that high performance boxers are decided by democratic ballot or democratic decision.”

Mulvey was unwavering in his support of Walsh reasoning that “I assume there are a number of great coaches in Ireland, except we have the BEST coach in the World in boxing, his record stands for itself and he should be allowed the freedom and opportunity to continue to do a good job.”

“Billy Walsh gave up in frustration, all you had to hear was his statement, that of a man who does not want to go to America but is being forced by the petty indignities forced upon him.”

It promises to be a big day for Irish boxing and we keenly await the response of the IABA.

Watch the full Billy Walsh discussion on Primetime below:

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