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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 13 December, 2019

Sport Ireland chief makes funding warning amid Irish boxing row

John Treacy has called on the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to resolve its problems swiftly.

CEO Sport Ireland John Treacy (file pic).
CEO Sport Ireland John Treacy (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SPORT IRELAND CEO John Treacy has given the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) a month to make changes or risk seeing its funding cut.

His warning comes amid claims that the role of High Performance Director, Bernard Dunne — who only took up the position last month — is being undermined by other members in the association.

It is believed that there was a difference of opinion on the Irish team selection between Dunne and the organisation’s central council ahead of next month’s European Boxing Championships in Ukraine.

Dean Gardiner was initially chosen as part of the Irish side ahead of reigning national champion Martin Keenan, with a box-off subsequently arranged to determine who gets a spot on the plane to Ukraine.

Treacy, who met with the IABA President Pat Ryan and Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan earlier today, expressed concern at the way the association was being run.

Joe Christle is recognised by Sport Ireland as the IABA’s official chairman, though David O’Brien was appointed alternative chairman by members of the organisation.

“The team selection is a symptom of the problem,” Treacy told RTÉ Radio One programme Today with Sean O’Rourke. “Clearly this is a deeply divided board we were meeting this morning, with different factions within the organisation.

“If you read the newspapers in recent times, they’re talking about two boards and two chairmen. That is not governance and that would be of real concern to ourselves.”

There was a bit of clarity brought to that this morning in that everyone accepted Joe Christle was the chair of the board but it’s issues like that, that keep emerging and undermines the work done.

“The issue around the rulebook changes that need to happen, that’s ongoing now since 2015 and it’s come to this point now because the Performance Director made these decisions and essentially it went to another committee and those decisions were changed.

In the Rio review there are recommendations around rule book changes and those changes haven’t happened.”

Asked whether the organisation’s funding was in danger of being cut, Treacy added: “We’ll be discussing all this with the board of Sport Ireland in the next few days. I would say that (the funding) is at risk but that’s a matter from the board of Sport Ireland.”

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Paul Fennessy

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