No boxing until January at the earliest – IABA release competition update

The IABA Board of Directors have confirmed the cancellation of all boxing competition for affiliated bodies within the IABA until January 2021.

During a meeting via teleconference, The Board directed that there will be no championships or competition allowed to take place at club, county, provincial or national level until at the earliest, 1st of January 2021.

In a statement the Board confirmed the U22 championships initially scheduled for November won’t go ahead. It was also confirmed an Irish team won’t be sent to the U22 Europeans, which are scheduled to take to place in Italy in December.

The last competitive action in terms of Irish amateur boxing was the Senior Cadets at the end of February. January is earmarked for the return and boxing could return with a bang via the National Elite Championships in the first month of 2021.

The following statement was released by the IABA Board of Directors:

COMPETITIVE BOXING:

The cancellation of all championships at domestic level will now include the scheduled U22 championships in November. The High Performance Director and President have also discussed the EUBC U22 championships scheduled to be held in Italy in December and the High performance director, Bernard Dunne has announced that due to the ongoing health crisis and associated risks the IABA will not send a team to the EUBC championships scheduled to take place in Italy in December. It is hoped that subject to Health authority advice the U22 team will be better placed to attend the EUBC championships scheduled to take place in March 2021. However, the health and safety of our athletes, members and staff will take precedence before any decision is made. The priority in terms of competitive boxing for the IABA will be sharply focussed on preparation of our team for the Tokyo Olympic Games, and our National Elite Championships which are scheduled to take place in January 2021 in the National stadium will be used as an aide to selection in finalising our team. The IABA will also continue our consultation with Sport Ireland, Sport NI, relevant stakeholders and medical experts in terms of how we might be able to facilitate preparation for all entrants to our National Elite championships.

The Board, whose sitting directors include the National President Dominic O’Rourke, the President of Leinster Andrew Duncan, the President of Ulster Kevin Duffy and Connacht Council representative Tom Geraghty are acutely aware of the strain that no competition and severely restricted training protocols is having along with the financial pressures this has placed on our members and the organisation as a whole.

The IABA have been graciously afforded numerous opportunities by Sport Ireland, Sport NI, Department of sport officials and Ministers to voice our concerns in relation to the effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our organisation. We have used these opportunities to set out our concerns on a number of matters which include but not limited to the following;-

Return to training
Return to competition
Mental Health
Finance
There has been a massive body of work undertaken by the staff team, the medical commissioner, members of the officer board and provincial councils to develop robust, compliant and comprehensive guidance and protocols for clubs to follow during these extremely testing times. This work has seen our staff team working around the clock in exceptionally challenging circumstances to deliver the best advice and guidance to help our clubs to remain open and compliant and to keep all our members as safe as possible. It should be noted that this body of work has been resoundingly praised by the Sport Ireland Expert Medical Advisor group, the Sport NI Return to Sport Expert group and by other boxing federations. These documents are easily accessible to all our members on the Covid-19 dedicated section of our website by following the link provided: http://iaba.ie/covid-19-guidance/.

It should also be noted at all times that boxing in Ireland is a 32 county sport and that the IABA must legally operate within the government guidelines as required by the Irish government and Northern Irish Executive in order to remain operational. The requirements expected by both funders and governments are mandatory.

FINANCE & SUPPORT:

We had 145 IABA affiliated bodies apply to the Governments resilience funding and we are hopeful to have some good news for those clubs in the coming weeks. Thanks to the hard work of our clubs, staff team and medical commissioner, almost 300 affiliated clubs have completed the return to boxing protocols and have reopened their doors to members.

The IABA are also represented by the Federation of Irish sport (FIS) who continuously advocate and lobby for their members and most recently this week in the Oireachtas. The Federation represent 110 sporting organisations across Ireland including 81 National Governing Bodies and 29 Local Sports Partnerships to which our CEO is a board member. They have been relentless in their identification of the many issues that our sport and other sporting bodies have encountered in this Country in the face of this pandemic. This work will continue at pace.

INSURANCE:

IABA insurance remains in place for Provinces, County Boards, Clubs and individuals who are operational during this period subject to adhering to the guidelines set out by the IABA. IABA insurance re personal accident, covers affiliated members who are injured as a result of an accident at an official IABA event or during official club training. This policy does not cover individuals training at their own discretion and outside of protocols that are laid down by the IABA from time to time. It is the responsibility of our members to keep themselves updated on any changes to those protocols by checking the latest updates on our website.

The Board of the IABA will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance issued by the HSE and other applicable governmental departments. We encourage all members to do likewise (please see links below):

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Members who have specific concerns relating to the coronavirus should contact the HSE helpline to seek further advice/guidance Tel: 1850 24 1850 or in Northern Ireland contact Tel: 111.

The Board would like to thank all of our members for the concern they have shown for their communities in abiding by these directives.

Yours Sincerely,

Dominic O’Rouke President, Fergal Carruth CEO Ciaran Kirwan, Chairman

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]