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Who is to blame? – Sport Ireland + IABA explain Gabriel Dossen’s funding cut

Sport Ireland and the IABA have come out to comment on the funding cut experienced by middleweight European gold medal winner Gabriel Dossen’s earlier this year.

The Galway fighter was one of the major casualties as the number of Irish fighters receiving Individual Carding Scheme funding from Sport Ireland was more than halved going into the Paris Olympic Cycle.

Both the number of fighters funded and the amount allocated dropped significantly this year with €235,000 being shared between just seven fighters. This €103,000 decrease came despite the fact that, across all sports under the carding scheme, Irish athletes will be funded to the tune of €3,080,500 – a €333,500 increase from 2021.

Dossen received €8,000 in 2021 – welcome pre-emptive funding for a boxer with no major senior international experience – but he reverted to being an unfunded athlete earlier in 2022.

News of the funding breakdown was officially shared in early May just weeks before the Olympic Galway fighter set off for his first senior international tournament, a tournament he won gold at.

With Dossen this week becoming a major Irish sporting star overnight, those learning that he had had his funding cut were not happy. Sports went to Sport Ireland for comment on the cut and the body shifted the blame to the IABA.

A spokesperson explained that “for 2021, Sport Ireland provided funding under the International Carding Scheme to Gabriel Dossen.”

“Gabriel did not meet the performance criteria at the time of application, however Sport Ireland engaged with the IABA’s Performance Director who sought additional support for this athlete. Gabriel was awarded €8,000 in funding as a “high potential Paris 2024 athlete”.”

“For 2022, Gabriel Dossen did not achieve performance criteria in the year previous under the International Carding Scheme. Sport Ireland did not receive an application from the IABA to consider funding to Gabriel for 2022.”

Dossen, indeed, did not meet explicit criteria for 2022 funding last year but many will point to the fact that he was controversially overlooked for the team that was sent at the last minute to the World Championships in Belgrade.

This would have been Irish champion Dossen’s only opportunity to achieve funding but he did not travel to the much-criticised training camp in England and, when it was eventually reconsidered to send a team to Serbia, the Galwegian was out of the picture.

Regardless, it does appear that the IABA did not petition Sport Ireland for funding for Dossen in light of his obvious talent despite his having not achieved criteria.

Another wrinkle to the situation would be that the outgoing High Performance Director, Bernard Dunne, went on an extended period of leave post-Tokyo and would not have personally petitioned Sport Ireland for funding for Dossen as it appears he did for the 2021 round.

In a statement to Sports, an IABA spokesperson noted that “Gabriel, and other boxers, were in receipt of special funding to prepare them for a potential Tokyo berth in 2021, and as they were highlighted as potential athletes for Paris, 2024.”

“International carding funding is based on competition and performance at elite international level in the preceding year. Gabriel didn’t compete at senior international level in 2021. He returned to senior elite international competition this year, culminating in his claiming the European middleweight title in Yerevan.”

“We’re now delighted that through Sport Ireland, with the support of the IABA through the High-Performance Programme, Gabriel has now reached that criteria and will be funded in his lead up to qualification for the 2024 games,”

Dossen’s top of the podium finish in Armenia now means he should receive funding and would be on a €40,000 ‘World Class’ grant from Sport Ireland for 2023 – although, somewhat concerningly, and RTÉ both seem to have been given the impression that he will only be in the €25,000 ‘World Class’ tier.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: