Future of Irish amateur boxing on the line as IABA to hold July EGM

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The immediate future of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association will be shaped at an extraordinary general meeting which will take place on Sunday, July 10 in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon (11.0).

elegates will be asked to vote on a motion to reconfigure the IABA’s Board of Directors, which is the key recommendation made in the McNiece report into governance issues which was published last month.

The new 12-member board would include six independent directors, double the number on the present board.

In another significant change, the president of the IABA would not have voting rights.

An Olympic boxer, a qualified coach together with one representatives from each of the provincial bodies would make up the remainder of the board.

The Minister for Sport Jack Chambers has warned that unless the IABA bring in the recommendations in the report – there are 64 in total – they face being cut off from state funding.

The official notice of the EGM was posted on the association’s website this afternoon and all the affiliated bodies have been sent the agenda together with other relevant information.

Two motions have been tabled as follows:

Motion 1:

‘That the Company Constitution and the Company Rulebook 2019 be amended to reflect the Recommendations of the Governance Review as they relate specifically to the composition of the Board of Directors.”

Motion 2:

“That Articles 5 and 73(e) of the Articles of Association of the Company Constitution be amended to replace the word “State” with “Island of Ireland.”

The second proposal would enable the IABA to hold their AGM anywhere on the island of Ireland, rather than solely in the Republic where the IABA is registered as a company.

There is likely to be a wrangle over whether the proposals require a 75 per cent majority as they are changes in the IABA constitution or whether a simple majority will suffice.

The results of the IABA’s Central Council presidential, officer board and executive elections – which were held late last year – will finally be announced at the EGM after the motions have been discussed.

They were delayed after 25 long-standing members – a number of whom were candidates in the election – were removed as members of the IABA after the Leinster and Connacht Council, together with the Dublin Board, withdrew their support for the Central Council of the IABA. The units took the action over the failure of the IABA to elect two new members to the board.

This saga took on a life of its own dragging on for months after the banned members appealed the decision to SDSI, an independent sports arbitration body.

The SDSI made an interim ruling in December, which allowed the banned members to resume their duties pending a full hearing of the case in March. However, the ballot papers remained sealed in the ballot boxes despite this decision.

The members ultimately won their case but there was a sting in the tail as some were left with substantial five-figure legal bills.

The reinstated members – several of whom are pensioners – face significant bills.

“Remember they didn’t suspend us; they barred us for life. We appealed the decision and naturally when word came through that we won we were delighted.

“We had to raise money ourselves to get the case heard in the first place. We assumed there wouldn’t be any more legal fees given we were totally vindicated.

“What has happened now is that we have all got legal bills, mine is over €2,000. A lot of us are pensioners and I don’t know how are expected to meet these costs,” said one of the appellants.

It was suggested at a meeting of the IABA Central Council that the Board of Directors be asked to pay the appellants’ legal fees as a gesture of goodwill ahead of the EGM.

A document relating to the SDSI case was read into the minutes of the reading, but it wasn’t distributed to those present.

The full cost to both parties of the SDSI case is not known. According to the IABA’s own records between 2013 and 2020 inclusive the organisation spent a total of €452,808 on legal and professional fees.

In 2020 when Covid-19 restrictions meant there was limited boxing the IABA’s legal and professional fees was €64,653.



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