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Boxing club owed apology by those who doubted their claims - Jim Allister

Former UK Sports Minister Kate Hoey pictured at the club in Sandy Row.

Former UK Sports Minister Kate Hoey pictured at the club in Sandy Row.

Jim Allister has said those who dismissed complaints made by Sandy Row boxing club last year owe the management and boxers an apology.

The TUV leader, who has supported the club since it was suspended from the IABA in 2010, said: “Sandy Row have lifted the lid on a serious problem within boxing in Northern Ireland and this report catalogues a series of failures.

“When Sandy Row bravely put their head above the parapet they were met by cat calls claiming the problems they highlighted did not exist. This report proves they do.

“Those who have dismissed the claims of Sandy Row Amateur Boxing Club within the boxing fraternity owe them an apology – as does the Minister [Caral Ni Chuilin].”

Mr Allister, who said that criteria for funding excluded Sandy Row, said the club had been vindicated and added: “While I fundamentally disagree with the contention of the report that there is no need for a separate Northern Ireland boxing federation, there is much in the report which I welcome.

“It is also clear that an objective analysis of the facts has concluded that there was substance to the complaints made by Sandy Row boxing club.”

Ulster Unionist culture, arts and leisure spokesman Michael McGimpsey said Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin should take the report seriously

“Last year in the Assembly I highlighted the disgraceful sectarian abuse suffered by members of the Sandy Row boxing club in my constituency.

“In particular, I was critical of the treatment of the club by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association and I was most disappointed by the response of the sports minister at that time,” he said.

Mr McGimpsey added: “I am in no doubt whatsoever that the ethos of local boxing at amateur level must be changed. The minister simply has to take this report seriously.”

Ms Ni Chuilin welcomed the report and said it was important to “acknowledge the good work which goes on throughout the sport” of boxing.

“This report was dealing with a small minority of cases, based on factors which originate outside the sport, and usually prompted by those with no interest in boxing.

“It should not undermine the positivity within boxing, nor take away from the hundreds of people who have found it a positive force for good,” she added.

 

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