Bitter boxing dispute takes another turn as 25 IABA members overturn bans

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association’s controversial decision to expel 25 high-profile members, including officials from the Leinster and Connacht Councils and the Dublin Boxing Board, was overturned on appeal.

The decision was sent to the parties by email from Sports Disputes Solution Ireland (SDSI) this afternoon following an oral hearing.

Following previous legal submissions, the suspensions had been temporarily lifted pending the outcome of the full hearing.

SDSI’s work is confidential and those involved in the case are not permitted to discuss any aspect of the case, including the reasons for the decision.

The decision paves the way for ballots to continue in the election of the Board and Executive of IABA.

That was halted late last year as some of those suspended were seeking election, including Tom Ward, a candidate for vice president of the national organization.

The verdict is the latest twist in a particularly bitter dispute within IABA.

Among those suspended were Leinster IABA President Andrew Duncan – who is also a member of the IABA Board – Connacht Council representative on the Board Tom Geraghty, Dublin Board President and former long-time secretary of the IABA Art O’Brien and Olympic referee and Judge Dermot McDermott.

Two of the IABA’s longest-serving members, Paddy Keogh – who has been synonymous with boxing in Dublin for decades – and former Connacht IABA President Joe Hennigan have also been banned.

The 25 had their membership revoked by email last November.

They have been informed that a membership panel consisting of two independent lawyers and the governance officer of another national governing body, after “unanimous consideration of the evidence, has found that the decisions taken by the IABA Central Council are upheld, the individuals named from the membership to remove / affiliate with IABA.”

This problem arose after a decision by both Leinster Council, Connacht Council and the Dublin Board to withdraw their support from the Central Council Officer Board for failing to enforce a rule to elect two new members to the Board.

The measures taken by the three bodies were discussed at a meeting of the Central Council on August 29, 2021, when the Council adopted three motions with a large majority.

A ) A vote of no confidence in the Leinster and Connacht Provincial Councils and the Dublin Board

B) One vote to object to their affiliation

C) A vote to remove certain named individuals from membership of IABA.

The issue was then referred to the Board of Directors of IABA. The board convened a board of members to review the matter and make a final decision on whether to uphold the decisions of the central council.

After the committee had examined all the documents in four meetings, it made its decision last November. Now, four months later, those sentences have been overturned. Bitter boxing dispute takes another turn as 25 IABA members overturn bans

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