By Paul Osborne

The Amateur Boxing Association of England has voted to accept the new Articles of Association and ratify the new Board ©ABAENovember 24 - The members of the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) today voted to accept the new Articles of Association and ratify the new Board of Directors at its Extraordinary General Meeting in Sheffield. 

The decision comes after a long and bitter row over the composition of the new Board, appointed by former ABAE chairman Richard Caborn in September, who later resigned amid calls for his removal from a number of regions that said the recruitment process was unfair.

The acceptance of the new articles and Board removes the threat of further sanctions from the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which had provisionally suspended the ABAE in July for what it called "serious breaches" of its regulations, and ensures the continued funding from Sport England following threats to remove the £5 million ($8 million/€6 million) support due to "significant concerns" about the governance of the association.

The two resolutions were passed with a 9-0 majority, with all eight regional associations in attendance, as well as the Combined Services association, voting in favour of the changes.

Representatives from London, the East Midlands and Eastern counties regions did not attend the meeting and therefore did not vote on the two decisions.

The new Articles, drafted in conjunction with AIBA, bring boxing in England into line with the rules and bylaws of international competition and put in place a code of conduct to ensure ongoing compliance by giving greater influence to clubs - it extends the right to vote at general meetings to clubs with 20 or more members - compared with previous rules where only the regional associations were given the right to vote.

The board, appointed by former chairman Richard Caborn, has been ratified by ABAE members at today's EGM ©Getty ImagesThe Board, appointed by former chairman Richard Caborn, has been ratified by ABAE members at today's EGM ©Getty Images

Meanwhile, the new Board, appointed using a "skills-based recruitment process" due to concerns by Sport England over the governance of the organisation and the regular challenges of the minutes of meetings, is now comprised of just 12 members, including seven boxing directors, four non-executive directors and an independent chairperson.

Sport England had also highlighted the lack of diversity and independent members, and warned that the regional associations - which represented 12 of the 16 members - dominated the old Board.

"This is a momentous day for boxing in England," read an ABAE statement.

"The decisions to accept new Articles and a new Board are the final parts of a process of modernisation, which has been going on for nearly two years, and now provide a basis for the sport to move forwards with an effective and 'fit for purpose' governing body which gives greater influence to grassroots clubs.

"The Board would like to thank all of the clubs that have supported the moves to modernise the structure of English boxing and made their views known to their voting representatives over the last two weeks.

"They have played a critical role in the outcome we have seen today and we would like to thank both the grassroots clubs and the voting representatives that put the interests of the sport first and voted in favour of modernisation.

"The new Board is committed to driving the sport forward and delivering the whole sport plan for boxing which will continue to grow participation, create opportunities to develop talent and support the clubs, coaches and volunteers who are the lifeblood of the sport at the grassroots."

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