herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Walsh comes out fighting

Head coach insists he was forced out by the IABA

Former Ireland head coach Billy Walsh
Former Ireland head coach Billy Walsh

Billy Walsh has accused the Irish Amateur Boxing Association of forcing him out of his position as its head coach and said he is taking up a new position in the United States because he felt he wasn’t wanted here.

After weeks of intense speculation surrounding his future, Walsh resigned his position last Monday, sparking a backlash of criticism against the IABA.

Kieran Mulvey, chairman of the newly-formed Sport Ireland, heavily criticised the association, saying it had shown “gross disrespect”.

On Friday, the association said it had done all it could “within reason” to prevent Walsh from taking up a new role with the US women’s boxing team and denied that they wanted him to leave.

But in a hard-hitting statement on Saturday, Walsh said he firmly believed the IABA “had no intention or desire to engage me into the future”.

He added: “I believe they did not want me to stay. I was left with no alternative, but to resign.

“I could not work for someone who clearly did not want me, who was going out of their way to undermine my position and who wanted me to work under terms that were simply unworkable.”

Walsh, who flew to the US on Thursday, where he is expected to put pen to paper on his new deal, rejected suggestions that money was a motivation in his decision.

“The IABA has clearly implied that I have left because of money, and that a contract was agreed on September 14,” Walsh said.

Incorrect

“This is simply incorrect. For ultimate clarity, I want it on the record that I did not resign from the IABA because of money.

“Of course I wanted better financial terms. However, it was the non-financial and practical working terms that were the deciding factor in my decision to resign.”

Walsh had been offered a three-year contract, understood to be in the region of €110,000 a year. He was also offered severance as the deal included him leaving the IABA staff as a permanent employee in exchange for a fixed-term contract to be funded by Sport Ireland.

But Walsh felt that he was left with no option but to resign because of a number of conditions which were part of the new contract.

“The IABA could not have been shocked or surprised that I resigned, given their disrespectful response and blatant disregard for my required changes to the proposed contract,” he said. “What I was offered was unworkable and aimed at forcing me to resign.

“Following much reflection and careful personal consideration, it became clear to me that the IABA had simply made an offer on the September 14 on the financial aspects of the deal only because the Minister (for Sport, Michael Ring) had placed pressure on them to reach a deal.

“It is my view that the IABA deliberately constructed their subsequent proposed contract in a manner that I could not accept and delayed getting it to me to put me under further pressure in my discussions with the USA.”

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