Michael McGimpsey, the Ulster Unionist Party’s South Belfast MLA, has yet again called on the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure to support Sandy Row Boxing Club.
Mr McGimpsey said:
“For literally years now the Sports Minister has refused to accept that there is a serious flaw in how local boxing clubs are funded.
“At Assembly Questions this week the Minister announced that Sport NI’s boxing investment programme would see lottery funding of over£3.2 million invested in the sport along with £1m of DCAL funding to boxing in Londonderry.
“My constituency includes Sandy Row Boxing Club – one of Belfast’s best established boxing clubs – which is being denied support whilst millions of pounds are made available to other boxing clubs. This is nothing less than discrimination.
“Yesterday the Minister told me that ‘this money and investment is for clubs affiliated to the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) and in receipt of a letter of offer.’
“The Minister knows full well that Sandy Row Boxing Club is not affiliated to the IABA, and she also knows why. Boxers from the Club have in the past been subjected to sectarian abuse when participating in events at clubs which are affiliated to the all-Ireland body. Furthermore, as a properly constituted and well-respected club, Sandy Row should be able to receive funding from DCAL as of right, regardless of whether or not they are affiliated.
“Rather than seek to address this situation and help Sandy Row access the funding, the Minister chose instead to accuse me of ‘sectarianising and politicising the issue.’ This response says much more about the Minister than it does about those of us who dare to ask questions and demand an end to discrimination.”