Government steps out of neutral corner
The Sports Ministry revealed yesterday that is prepared to reach out to the International Boxing Association in the hope of resolving a furore that is threatening to destabilise boxing in the country.
The warring parties — the Bermuda Boxing Federation, and the relatively newly formed Bermuda International Boxing Association — have been at odds since the latter was formed in late 2012.
The BIBA is of the view that the BBF is defunct because the association has only two serving executives and has not held an annual meeting since 2012.
However, Debra Smith, the BBF secretary and interim president and treasurer, is adamant that her organisation is anything but defunct, regardless of its shortcomings.
“As far as AIBA [International Boxing Association] is concerned, as long as there is one person attached to this association, we are not defunct,” she said.
As it stands, the BBF is the only association in Bermuda recognised by the world governing body. “AIBA already has a boxing organisation in Bermuda, which is the Bermuda Boxing Federation (BBF),” Patricia Steulet, the AIBA director for external relations, advised the BIBA in an e-mail.
“There are hopes that the sport of boxing may revive soon in Bermuda within the existing national federation and the help of its remaining members.”
The BIBA had approached the AIBA expressing its concerns over the lack of a boxing programme for several years as well as seeking to become an affiliated member of the world governing body.
Norbert Simons, the director of youth and sports, said the ministry has not given up hope of having the BIBA recognised by the AIBA.
“The Bermuda International Boxing Association has expressed an interest to take over boxing, but they will have to be recognised by AIBA and AIBA is not prepared to do that, so we have reached out to AIBA to try and resolve the entire issue,” he said. “We have had some correspondence with AIBA and the minister [Wayne Scott] is about to contact and make an official approach to AIBA in the next day or two. Hopefully we will be in a better position to determine where we are.”
AIBA has stood behind the BBF in spite of all of the latter's shortcomings.
“The challenge is, I guess from their point of view, they want to ensure that all is done to revive the current administration,” Simons added.
“That is where their allegiance is and once that has been exhausted, we are hoping there will be a softening of their approach.
“The ideal situation would be to have the two bodies merge under one umbrella, but there seems to be some resistance, so we will do what we can to assist.
“But it must be noted that as Government, we cannot get involved in the day-to-day operation of any organisation. We can only try to advise.
“If there is no actual resolution to this matter, we will have to write to the international federation and advise them that the group is totally dysfunctional and we no longer recognise the current body as the national body for boxing in Bermuda.”
Simons said the ministry also remains committed to helping the BBF to get back on its feet.
“We have had some meetings with them, involving the BOA as well, to try and resolve the issue of them being in a state of dysfunction,” he said.
“So we are hoping that we can at some point in time resolve that issue and get them back into a place where they are viable and working but that's appearing to be a challenge.
“I think that the current administration is holding fast to the rules, which is their right, and I am not too sure if there's a willingness to bend on either body's part, so I think we will have to get everybody in the room again and try to resolve the matter.”