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Boxing in England reaches a critical moment



ABAE calls an Extraordinary General Meeting to vote on new Board and Articles of Association

The Board of the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) has called an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Sunday 24th November 2013 to vote on the acceptance of new Articles of Association and to ratify the appointment of a new Board of Directors.

The creation of new Articles follows a Disciplinary Commission in July 2013 brought by the international governing body, AIBA, which ruled the ABAE’s current Articles did not conform to AIBA bylaws and needed to be reformed.

The new ABAE Articles have been drafted, in conjunction with AIBA, to ensure they are compliant with the statues and regulations of the international governing body and aim to empower the membership of the ABAE by extending voting rights to boxing clubs with more than 20 members.

The ratification of the new Board is part of an on-going process of modernisation by the ABAE which appointed seven new Board Directors in September 2013, following a decision by its membership to transform the way the organisation is governed, reduce the size of the Board and change the way Directors are selected.

The vote on whether to accept the new articles and ratify the new Board on the 24th November is critically important to the future of the sport.

A decision to reject the Board and the new Articles, which have both been approved by the international governing body, will lead to AIBA re-opening disciplinary proceedings against the ABAE. This is expected to lead to the suspension of England from all international competition as it will fail to comply with the rules and regulations by which the sport is governed internationally.

Sport England, which has committed to invest over £5 million in grassroots boxing over the next four years, has already confirmed it will cease to fund the ABAE, with immediate effect, if the new Articles are rejected and the Board is not ratified.

A statement by the Board of the ABAE said: “This is an absolutely critical moment for boxing in England. A refusal to accept modernisation and a decision to reject the new Articles will have a catastrophic effect on the sport with far reaching consequences that risk decimating boxing at the grassroots.

“It (rejecting the new Articles) will mean that boxing in England does not conform to international rules and will leave AIBA with no alternative but to suspend England for failure to comply with the same rules and regulations that all other countries around the world adhere to.

“This will have a devastating impact on the sport at all levels and mean that the people who will suffer most will be the boxers and their coaches.

“It will affect thousands of people and means that English boxers will not be able to train with or compete against a boxer from another country and will not be invited to participate in any international competitions, at any level, from schools to seniors.

“The loss of Sport England funding will be a massive blow to clubs and coaches around the country which will lose out on money that had been earmarked for coach development projects, creating competition opportunities for young boxers and upgrading clubs and facilities.”

The updated Articles of Association proposed by the Board of the ABAE accept all AIBA statutes, bylaws and technical rules for the sport, including full recognition of World Series Boxing (WSB) and AIBA Professional Boxing (APB).

The Articles have also amended the classes and rights of membership to empower affiliated boxing clubs in recognition of their role as the deliverers of the sport and to create a framework to ensure and maintain future compliance.

The new Articles, which are similar to those for governing bodies in other club-based sports, set out three types of affiliated membership:

· Individual memberships are available to any man or women, such as a boxer, coach or official, who wants to be affiliated to the ABAE

· Associate memberships are for organisations, other than clubs, that share an interest in boxing such as Regional Associations, the British Universities Sports Association or the Police Boxing Association. Associate members will receive notice of General Meetings and have the right to attend and speak at them.

· Club memberships are available to all boxing clubs. They will receive notice of General Meetings and have the right to attend and speak at them. Clubs with more than 20 individuals registered as members will also be entitled to vote at General Meetings.

The Statement by the Board of the ABAE added: “The new Articles and the new Board, which both have the support of AIBA and Sport England, create a ‘fit for purpose’ governing body that is compliant with the rules of international competition and more responsive to the needs and wishes of clubs, coaches and boxers at the grassroots.

“The extension of voting rights to clubs is a central part of this and aims to create a stronger framework for compliance and provide the clubs with a greater say in the running and direction of the sport in England.”

The vote on whether to accept or reject the new Articles and to ratify the new Board will be held at an EGM on Sunday 24th November 2013. 12 votes will be cast; one vote each by the 11 Regional Associations of the ABAE and one vote by the Combined Services Boxing Association. To be accepted the new Articles require 75% (9 out of 12) of the vote.

Opponents of the new Board have also tabled a resolution for the same day to remove the new Board and replace it with the people that sat on the old Board, as an interim measure, whilst a new recruitment process takes place to hire new Board Directors.