Thursday 21 November 2019

'That's very damaging to Billy Walsh' – Des Cahill and IABA chairman in fraught RTE Radio 1 exchange

Billy Walsh
Billy Walsh

Declan Whooley

RTE Radio presenter Des Cahill and IABA chairman Joe Christle were involved in terse live exchange as the fallout continues following Billy Walsh's departure to USA Boxing.

Walsh announced his shock resignation as head coach of the Irish High Performance Unit after eight months of negotiations failed to result in a new deal.

The deal broke down on non-financial issues there has been widespread criticism from within the boxing community, including some of the country's Olympic boxers, and externally following the decorated coach's departure.

In the statement today, the IABA claims it "did everything within reason to meet his demands" and were under the impression the coach was going to sign a new contract before announcing his resignation on Monday.

IABA chairman Joe Christle has been speaking on radio to give further insight into the on-going saga and speaking on RTE Radio's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme, robustly denied there was friction between the association and Walsh.

"Joe, you're a bright man," the sports broadcaster said. "I find it quite difficult to understand. Irish boxing has had a dream spell, any Irish sport would give for the success it has had. Were you aware of a fragile relationship between the coach and the association?

"Not at all," he claimed before outlining the discussions that had taken place in the lead-up to Monday's resignation.

"Was there not tensions? I was aware of tensions," Cahill added.

Christle reiterated the IABA had "concerns" over funding and Walsh's lucrative offer from America.

"Joe, that's very damaging what you just said, damaging to him and his relationship with the USA."

"What do you mean?" Christle questioned.

"You are quoting what he said to you privately about his discussion with the USA.

"It is well known and he is on record as saying that he did not want to take up the position," the chairman assured listeners.

"That's different," Cahill responded before Christle concluded: "Des, the whole point of this and the stance of the IABA is to respect the confidentiality of the employer and employee.

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