The troubled Irish Athletic Boxing Association has been hit by a new crisis on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Leinster and Connacht Councils of the IABA together with the Dublin County Board have withdrawn their support for the Association’s Central Council.
The Connacht Council have taken the unprecedented step of also withdrawing their support for the IABA’s board of directors.
The issue at the centre of this latest controversy is the failure of the board to proceed with the election of two new directors which was passed by the 2019 AGM.
The row will have no impact on Ireland’s preparations for next month’s Olympic Games in which seven Irish boxers are due to take part it.
Furthermore, sources in Leinster, Connacht and Dublin have confirmed that though they are effectively boycotting the national governing body, club boxers can continue to take part in national championships.
The board of directors of the IABA have been effectively split for at least 18 months on range of issues.
But this is the first time that the row has spilled over to the Central Council which effectively runs the organisation on a day-to-day basis.
In their letter to the IABA’s Central Council the Connacht branch says they are withdrawing their support from the president and the officer board of the IABA until such time are there is a national election. The annual convention of the association at which elections take place is likely to be held in November or December this year.
The letter lists seven reasons why they were withholding their support including alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations, lack of communication during the pandemic including a failure to embrace modern technology, failure to act upon the wishes of the members regarding the Association’s new rule book and breaches of confidentiality.
The letter concludes by stating: “When the day comes that our funder, or government, or others realise that problems exist with the IABA, it will be on record that the Connacht Council held up their hand and said stop.”
In a separate letter to the board of the directors, the Connacht Council list the reasons why they are withdrawing support from the board which in effect means their nominated representative will not be attending meetings.
Again, they list a variety of reasons why they are taking this course of action and they claim there is ‘an endemic crisis’ within the Association which has been ongoing since 2015.
“The number of elite boxers leaving the sport is at an all-time high. The Association continues to lose its elite boxers to professional boxing due to inadequate funding and supports at national level. At the rate we are going we won’t have a credible team for 2024 Paris Olympics,” according to the letter.
In the case of both the Leinster Council and the Dublin Board they are more specific, concentrating their ire on the failure of the board to proceed with the election of two additional directors.
In their correspondence, the Dublin Board state that they will continue to support the Leinster Council in its stance on this matter and consequently ‘will also withdraw all support from the Central Council.’”
Prior to this latest twist in the controversy, the chief executive of the IABA Fergal Curruth said the appointment of additional members to the board of directors has been delayed due to the significant impact of Covid-19 on the sport.
“The appointments are a matter for the Board, in particular the HR and Nominations Committee who are tasked with identifying candidates with the requisite skills considering the skills base of the current board members. This matter has been dealt with at recent board meetings and we would expect it to be resolved shortly,” he said.