Irish amateur boxing hit by another row over European Championship selection

Former world super-bantamweight champion Bernard Dunne
Bernard Dunne was appointed as Irish amateur boxing's high performance director last month

Sport Ireland chief John Treacy has warned Irish amateur boxing bosses that their funding is at risk following the latest row within the sport.

The sport has been beset by internal squabbles in recent years which included the departure of national coach Billy Walsh.

The latest row centres on selection for next month's European Championships.

Two boxers selected by new high performance director Bernard Dunne were not rubberstamped.

Instead the Irish Athletic Boxing Association's Central Council decided that Dunne's super-heavyweight pick Dean Gardiner should fight national champion Martin Keenan in a box-off to earn a place in Ukraine.

There is also a difference of opinion between Dunne and the Central Council over whether national champion Dean Walsh or Ballymena's Rio Olympian Steven Donnelly should be the choice at welterweight.

Ballymena fighter Steven Donnelly
Steven Donnelly competed at last year's Rio Olympics

Treacy says IABA have 'undermined Dunne'

Sport Ireland chief executive Treacy says the Central Council's decisions have undermined former WBA world super-bantamweight champion Dunne in his new role.

Dunne was appointed last month after a review into the highly-touted Irish team's failure to win medals at last year's Rio Olympics.

Treacy met with IABA president Pat Ryan and Irish Minister of State for Sport Patrick O'Donovan on Wednesday morning to discuss the latest row.

The Sport Ireland chief told Irish broadcaster RTE he has "major concerns" over how the sport is being run.

Treacy referred to an apparent split over who holds the chairmanship of the IABA.

Split included row over who was IABA chairman

Joe Christle is recognised by Sport Ireland as the Chairman of the organisation, however five members of the board of directors approved David O'Brien as an alternative chairman.

"The team selection is a symptom of the problem," said Treacy.

"Clearly this is a deeply divided board we were meeting this morning, with different factions within the organisation.

"There was a bit of clarity brought to that this morning in that everyone accepted Joe Christle was the chair of the board but it's issues like that, that keep emerging and undermines the work done by the IABA."

Treacy insisted that Dunne must be allowed to perform his high performance role and has given IABA officials a one-month deadline to update their rulebook.

"Bernard Dunne is a top-quality person and a very good performance direction and he needs to let to get on with his business," added Treacy.

"We'll be discussing all this with the board of Sport Ireland in the next few days. I would say that it (funding) is at risk but that's a matter from the board of Sport Ireland.

"I wrote to the IABA on Monday and I asked them that the rulebook changes happen by 30 June."

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