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Appropriate for broadcasters to boycott high-profile boxing bout, Varadkar says

The High Court in Dublin previously named Kinahan as a senior figure in an organised crime gang.


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photocall Ireland)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photocall Ireland)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Photocall Ireland)

Irish premier Leo Varadkar said it would be “entirely appropriate” for broadcasters not to show a high-profile boxing bout organised by a man named as a senior organised crime figure.

British boxer Tyson Fury thanked UAE-based Daniel Kinahan for reaching an agreement for him to fight Anthony Joshua next year and said he was responsible for organising “the biggest fight in British boxing history”.

The High Court in Dublin previously named Kinahan as a senior figure in an organised crime gang involved in international drug trafficking operations and firearm offences.

Asked whether broadcasters should boycott the fight, Mr Varadkar said: “Certainly the authorities in the UAE know the situation and they know our concerns and problems with it.

“It is not a decision for me but I think it would be entirely appropriate for sporting organisations or media organisations to have nothing to do with this.

“They maybe don’t know the facts or don’t know the truth but they need to know them. I wouldn’t like to see them getting any attention at all given the circumstances.”

He made the comments after it was confirmed that Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has contacted authorities in the United Arab Emirates regarding the controversy surrounding Mr Kinahan.

Mr Varadkar added: “I don’t think we have any legal authority to do things in any other jurisdictions but we can, of course, raise our concerns with the authorities in other countries. We have done it before.”

On Thursday, Irish Sport Minister Brendan Griffin said he had asked department officials to draft a letter to his UK counterpart about “our outrage” about a “completely unacceptable” situation.

He said: “My heart goes out to the decent volunteers and participants in boxing around the country who give so much time and effort to their communities.”

Labour leader Alan Kelly also criticised Kinahan’s role in organising the fight, and called for the Government to intervene.

“We owe it to the victims of such a cartel, our country needs to do this,” Mr Kelly added.

“We also need to communicate very strongly with certain sports broadcasters and certain sports companies and other companies involved in this.

“This is an important juncture and I would ask you through the minister for foreign affairs to highlight how important this is for us because of parasitical criminal activities of this individual.”