Sport Ireland confirm full IABA funding to be restored

Boxing’s governing body meets Sport Ireland’s requests for reform

Full core funding will be restored to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) in the coming weeks after Sport Ireland confirmed their satisfaction with recent governance reforms.

In July, Sport Ireland announced that the IABA would lose 15 per cent of its funding with immediate effect after the organisation voted against plans for reform.

The sport, which has had serious issues surrounding governance for over a decade, declined to vote in required changes that would modernise the association and begin a process of gender equality at board level. July’s EGM decided not to reconstitute the board, knowing that funding would be reduced in the sport unless change took place.

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers confirmed that Sport Ireland are now satisfied with the governance reforms agreed to by the IABA since September.


“On the basis of that agreement the conditions are now in place to restore funding in the coming weeks,” Minister Chambers said on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne.

The funding, Chambers added, will be dependent on the full implementation of agreed reforms, regarding governance, culture change, board structure and the protection of grassroots and high performance structures.

The IABA will also be advertising for a new independent secretary and chairperson and Minister Chambers said following through on this would be “key”.

Dr Una May, chief executive of Sport Ireland, said at the time that “serious and significant consequences would follow in the event of the IABA’s own governance report not being adopted in full.”

The sanctions did not have any impact on direct athlete funding delivered through Sport Ireland’s international carding scheme.

The IABA vote also came after Bernard Dunne resigned from his role as the high-performance director, and last month was officially declared the head of India’s high-performance boxing programme.

Dunne left his position in acrimonious circumstances, when a document purporting to be an assessment of Irish boxing was passed around and discussed at board level within the organisation.

Dunne issued a complaint in writing to the IABA last November, alleging his position had been undermined by the unsigned “SWOT Analysis Position Paper”, which made spurious claims that he considered highly damaging to his position.

Dunne did not return to his post as high-performance director after the Tokyo Games and after a proposed hearing into his complaint against the two board members was postponed in early May, he left the organisation.

An independent review suggested that major restructuring should take place. Chairman Ciarán Kirwan and chief executive Fergal Carruth then offered their resignations in August following rejection by delegates of the proposals on the adoption of good corporate governance.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics