Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport And Media

Governance in Irish Athletic Boxing Association: Discussion

Mr. John Treacy:

I have often said it in respect of governing bodies that if there is noise in the system, it is usually time to do a review. The Senator alluded to the fact that Gary Keegan, Billy Walsh and Bernard Dunne were all coming under pressure. Prior to the Olympic Games, Bernard Dunne came under pressure that was totally and utterly unfair and unfounded and should never have happened. That was coming from the sport itself. It pains me to say that. What we are trying to do with the review is to consult all the clubs, get the governance right, make sure the clubs and membership are listened to and put a structure in place that can govern the sport going forward. It is often the case in the context of sports governing bodies that when there are elections coming up, there is noise in the system. That is what is happening now. There is noise in the system. The big issue here is that it is not the IABA and ourselves at loggerheads about Billy Walsh any more. This is a boxing council issue. It is divided and there is an election coming up. It is really unfortunate. The Senator referred to the GAA and other sports. If those sports have dirty linen, they wash it quietly in the background. Unfortunately, some sports wash it in the public eye. That is where boxing is at the moment in spite of a really successful Olympic Games with unbelievable performances. Kellie Harrington was absolutely magnificent.

The Senator raised the issue of sponsorship. If there is all this noise in the system, how will one attract a sponsor? This is one of the fundamental issues. Corporate Ireland will take one look at this and ask why it would ever go near such a deeply divided body. This issue is not unique to boxing. Some smaller sports have real difficulty getting corporate sponsors on board.


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