More upheaval in Irish boxing as IABA CEO and chairman of the board both resign

THE chief executive officer of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association Fergal Carruth and the chairman of the board Ciarán Kirwan have both resigned.

According to the statement, their decision ‘follows the rejection by delegates of the proposals on good corporate governance at the IABA’s EGM in Roscommon on July 10.’

The organization’s two highest ranking officials will stand down on September 2

The decision of club delegates at the EGM to overwhelmingly reject a proposal to reform the board of directors effectively left them in an untenable position, though their decision to quit now comes as a major surprise.

It is understood there was a meeting of the IABA Board, the first in person since the EGM, today.

Earlier this week, Minister for Sport Jack Chambers confirmed that government funding to the IABA in 2022 would be cut immediately by 15 per cent because of the decision of clubs to reject the reform package.

The board has been effectively split for nearly two years. However, the election of a new Central Council left Carruth and Kirwan more isolated than ever.

Ciarán Kirwan, a solicitor by profession, served as Chairperson of the IABA since 2019. Fergal Carruth, a brother of Olympic gold medalist Michael Carruth, was appointed CEO in 2013.

Fergal Carruth said, “Having been involved with boxing all my life, serving as CEO of the IABA has been the privilege of a lifetime, especially given all the success enjoyed by Irish boxing in the ring during this time. I am delighted, too, that there are more people than ever involved in our sport. Membership has almost tripled, 25% of which is now female. There are now 350 clubs serving communities nationwide, an increase of over 100 clubs since 2013.

“I am leaving with more than a little regret but believe that there are those within the sport who do not recognize the importance of compliance with the highest standards of corporate governance, which are vital in underpinning the growth and development of our wonderful sport. 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 maximize its significant potential in the future.”

Speaking of his decision, Ciaran Kirwan said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Irish Athletic Boxing Association over the last 9 years as a Director, and more recently as Chairperson. I am passionate about Irish boxing, having come from a family steeped in the sport. However, I believe that the requirements in terms of good governance set out by the government, and indeed the governance report commissioned by the IABA’s Board of Directors, are correct and entirely reasonable, particularly in the context of the National Sports Policy and the scale of government funding now available to sport in this country.

“It is time for a new voice to serve as Chairperson and I am hopeful that the impediments to the adoption of the necessary good governance changes can be overcome. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Fergal and all the staff of the IABA whose work is so vital to the continued success of Irish boxing and all of whom have been a pleasure to work with”.

“The Minister for Sport and Sport Ireland has been advised of the resignations of IABA’s Chairperson and CEO. Mr. Carruth and Mr. Kirwan will be making no further comment.

“The process of appointing a Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer will begin presently,” concluded the statement.

The position of Head of the High Performance Unit is also vacant since the resignation of Bernard Dunne.

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