Crisis in Irish boxing as IABA chief executive and chairman resign

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Crisis In Irish Boxing As Iaba Chief Executive And Chairman Resign Crisis In Irish Boxing As Iaba Chief Executive And Chairman Resign
Fergal Carruth has resigned as IABA chief executive. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
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Olivia Kelleher

Irish Athletic Boxing Association chief executive Fergal Carruth and chairman Ciarán Kirwin have announced their resignations from the organisation.

Irish boxing’s top two officials said their decision came after the rejection of proposals on good corporate governance at the IABA’s general meeting last month.

Both men have notified the board of directors of their decision and will step down early next month. Minister for Sport Jack Chambers, as well as Sport Ireland, were informed of the decision on Thursday.

Last month, Mr Chambers confirmed that all State funding for boxing would be cut – except for money earmarked for athletes in the high performance unit – after IABA members voted overwhelmingly on July 10th to reject proposed governance reforms.

The reform motion was overwhelmingly rejected by members, with 80 votes against and a mere 25 votes supporting the motion.

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Mr Kirwan, who is a solicitor by profession, served as chairperson for three years and as a director since 2014. Mr Carruth was appointed chief executive nine years ago.

In a statement, Mr Carruth said that he had been involved in boxing all his life, so serving as IABA chief executive had been "the privilege of a lifetime" given the success enjoyed by Irish boxing in the ring during this time.

However, he said he was leaving with "more than a little regret".

"I hope that the decision to step down may serve as a catalyst for necessary change and that the Irish boxing family finds a way to maximise its significant potential in the future," he said.

Mr Kirwan said it was an "honour and privilege to serve the IABA", but that he believed that the requirements in terms of good governance set out by the Government, and the governance report commissioned by the IABA’s board, are correct and entirely reasonable.

Sport Ireland

Sport Ireland chief executive Una May said her organisation had "high regard" for the pair, and during their tenure the IABA had seen substantial growth with an almost three-fold increase in membership – 25 per cent of whom were women.

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Ms May said Mr Kirwan and Mr Carruth were not the source of problems within the organisation.

She told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the board themselves commissioned the recent report on reforms knowing that as an organisation they had challenges.

"So this report was actually commissioned by the board of the IABA. The report made 64 recommendations many of which are very straightforward and basic. Some of which are more difficult for some of the members to accept."

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Ms May said Sport Ireland was "at a loss as to what the problems are with the report and what the challenges are," though they would be "more than happy to support and guide" the IABA in any way they can.

"Recently we have met multiple times with the leadership of the organisation. It is very important for us to have a strong leadership. We do have our communications and collaborations. We are open for business to support wherever we can."

Ms May said if there is an absence of action in relation to new appointments Sport Ireland would put an independent chair in place. She stressed that it is not their preference to get involved in financial sanctions.

"I think it is critical and it is important that everyone understands that what is important to us is to have a functioning sport system. A functioning sport system is led by highly functioning national government bodies."

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