Belfast Telegraph

Boxer Sean McComb 'innocent' blast NI Commonwealth chiefs over Gold Coast incident

By Jonathan Bell

Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games chiefs have backed boxer Sean McComb saying he is an innocent man and his reputation has been tarnished over reports of an incident on the Gold Coast of Australia.

They are seeking legal advice and have asked for the Foreign Office to intervene.

"We are disappointed that the reputation of the athlete and the NICGC is being impugned and we want to ensure that every opportunity is available to resolve this matter."

The boxer, while on a night out after his participation in the games had ended, was involved in an incident at a nightclub in the Surfer's Paradise area with an off-duty incident. Police described the incident as "not criminal in nature".

McComb (25) was handed a fixed penalty notice for causing a public nuisance and his movements restricted. It was reported he was in a dispute with a bouncer.

On Tuesday the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team Chef De Mission Robert McVeigh apologised saying they could not condone the behaviour and would investigate. The boxer also apologised to his teammates.

However, on Wednesday, the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC)  said after reviewing the incident, including CCTV, they now believed his was innocent in the ordeal and were concerned about how the matter became to be reported in the media.

In our opinion he is an innocent victim in this matter and he retains the full support of the NICGC.

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, the organisation said: "As with hundreds of other athletes from many different countries, Sean was on a night out following the end of his participation in competition.

"Over the last 36 hours, the NICGC management has spoken with the boxer and gathered as much additional information as possible. This includes imagery from CCTV that raises concerns as to the accuracy of the initial information and how it came to be released to the media. The NICGC has brought these concerns to the attention of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Queensland Police. Queensland Police have been asked to fast track a review of their decisions."

McComb's Games ended with a points defeat on Sunday to Luke McCormack of England in the last 16 of the light-welterweight division.

The NICGC statement continued: "The NICGC has reviewed the latest evidence and determined that team sanctions will not be taken against Sean in relation to this incident and we can confirm that he remains an integral member of the boxing squad and the wider team. In our opinion he is an innocent victim in this matter and he retains the full support of the NICGC.

"We are disappointed that the reputation of the athlete and the NICGC is being impugned and we want to ensure that every opportunity is available to resolve this matter. To this end, legal advice is being sought and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is being kept informed."

Queensland Police have been contacted for a response.

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