Wednesday 20 September 2017

New rule book will not solve IABA rift

President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA), Pat Ryan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile
President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA), Pat Ryan. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach / Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

The embattled IABA board of directors last night adopted a new rule book which accepts all the changes recommended by the review into the boxing team's poor performance at the Rio Olympics - but the organisation remains as divided as ever.

In a significant move the IABA's elected president Pat Ryan recognised Joe Christle as the chairman of the board - a decision which is likely to bring him into conflict with his own central council.

Last weekend the central council endorsed the election of Waterford's David O'Brien as the chairman-elect of the board of directors. But this decision is now effectively dead in the water.

O'Brien was present at a meeting last night between the board of directors and a delegation from the central council.

"It all fell apart," said O'Brien, who again called on Christle and IABA chief executive Fergal Carruth to resign

O'Brien called for the central council to hold an extraordinary general meeting of members which has the authority to dissolve the officer board of the association as well as the board of directors and hold new elections.

Ryan described the meeting as "very constructive" but refused to comment on why he hadn't backed O'Brien's bid to become chairman.

Christle said they had received legal advice stating that there was no vacancy for the position of chairman. O'Brien and his supporters had argued that Christle's term of office finished last October as by then he had served four years as a directors and a further two as chairman.

In another development, board member Gerry O'Mahony declined to recognise Christle as the chairman was asked to leave the board meeting. The Leinster council's representative on the board Bernie Harold abstained on the vote to adopt the new rule book.

O'Mahony was appointed by the central council to be the team manager for the Irish team at next week's European boxing championships in the Ukraine but he confirmed last night that he would not be travelling.

Regardless of whether the central council backs O'Brien's moves to call an EGM, the board of directors still face a major task in attempting to sell the new rule book to rank and file members.

Threat

In the short-term last night's decision may be enough to persuade Sport Ireland to lift their threat to stop funding the IABA from July 1 unless the new rule book was adopted.

Among the changes proposed is that the head of the High Performance Unit has full authority over team selections for elite international championships and would act as team manager at these events.

In a statement issued after the three-hour meeting the board said they would begin a series of explanatory and consultation meetings with clubs around the country on the changes made to the rule book to comply with the Sport Ireland requirements.

"The board will simultaneously make every effort to reach agreement with the central council on the changes that need to be made," it read.

"It is hoped that further changes to the rule book will be adopted by the membership at a national convention later this year."

Irish Independent

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