Monday 19 February 2018

'Politics, ego and power trips' - Furious Morris quits as IABA secretary and pulls no punches

IABA president Pat Ryan (pictured) paid tribute to Morris's service to the IABA, describing his 'immeasurable contribution' to Irish boxing over the last 40 years. Photo: SPORTSFILE
IABA president Pat Ryan (pictured) paid tribute to Morris's service to the IABA, describing his 'immeasurable contribution' to Irish boxing over the last 40 years. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Michael Verney

Al Morris has thrown some hard-hitting parting shots at the "politics, ego and power trips" in the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) after resigning as secretary amid a deepening boardroom crisis within the organisation.

As exclusively revealed in the Irish Independent, Morris was considering his position over the weekend but officially threw in the towel yesterday after being left with "no alternative but to hand in my resignation".

Morris, a native of Wicklow, believes the sport deserves better leadership and he feels that the IABA board is not putting boxing first.

The board of directors is split, with four Central Council members - including IABA president Pat Ryan - in David O'Brien's corner and others - including Ciaran Kirwan - backing Joe Christle, who is recognised by Sport Ireland.

However, at a meeting of the IABA Central Council last Saturday, O'Brien's election as chairman of the board on March 27 was overwhelmingly ratified. While O'Brien's appointment was ratified, the Christle side does not accept the Central Council was properly convened.

The board is due to meet in the National Stadium tomorrow night with the Sport Ireland threat to cut funding by the end of the month - unless proper governance is in place and a new rule book is introduced - hanging over its head.

Morris's statement read: "Over the past two years the IABA has gone downhill and the fun and enjoyment I have got from my love of boxing has gone due to the politics, ego and power trips of some in the organisation.

"The last straw is this 'them and us' attitude coming into our sport with Central Council, CEO and board of directors filtering down to all in the sport, and this I blame on the leaders who are not putting boxing first.

All the great work by coaches, officials and administrators at club, county board, and provincial level is being undermined by the people who should be bringing everyone together but are only dividing for their egos."

When contacted, IABA president Ryan paid tribute to Morris's service to the IABA, describing his "immeasurable contribution" to Irish boxing over the last 40 years.

Ryan also insists the IABA's problems can be fixed quickly but has asked those involved to avoid throwing more flames on the fire as they look to put this controversial matter to bed.

"We could possibly sort out all this in an hour but I don't want to be putting a band-aid on stuff, we have to deal with it very matter of factly.

"What we have to do is not major but there are issues that have to be addressed forthwith and there are organisational reforms to be made," Ryan said. "The organisational structure that we have is not fit for purpose, we're endeavouring to address all of that together.

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"We're at a juncture here where all sides within this great organisation are more than aware that there are a number of issues that have to be addressed and we are going to address those issues very matter of factly over the coming days and weeks.

"It is important for all involved that we refrain from loose comment so as not to inflame matters any more than they are. It is our business from here on to conduct our business in-house to resolve and find a resolution."

Irish Independent

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