Inside Lines: Seconds out! Cornerman gets KO'd as McCracken cracks whip

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The Independent Online

Head coach Kelvyn Travis has left the British Amateur Boxing Association in another major upheaval following the appointment as performance director of top pro trainer Robert McCracken, the former middleweight title contender who mentors world champion Carl Froch. McCracken's arrival followed the short-lived appointment of Kevin Hickey, who had himself replaced Terry Edwards, jocked off despite GB's glowing record of achievements. His departure was confirmed to The Independent on Sunday yesterday by the BABA chairman, Derek Mapp. "The situation is that Rob is merging his position and that of head coach. Kelvyn has done a good job up to now but you can't have two people standing on the same pedestal." The hiring of Travis, 60, like that of the 67-year-old former Olympic coach Hickey – who had been out of the game for 20 years – as performance director over him was contentious. Once Audley Harrison's cornerman, Travis was involved in a fracas in which a rival coach had his jaw broken. Mapp insists that Jim Davison, respected No 2 to Edwards and Travis, is staying on despite rumours he was quitting. So it seems the turbulence that has followed the departure of Edwards and most of his Olympians rumbles on. Despite the attractions of the new pro-am World Series, the amateurs have now lost another young star to the paid ranks in 19-year-old welterweight Ronnie Heffron, a surefire tip for 2012. Heffron, the former ABA champ, makes his pro debut for Frank Warren on Amir Khan's world-title bill in Newcastle on 5 December. Meantime, the BABA are demanding he repays £16,000 they claim to have invested in his future. "Seconds out", if there are any left!

Just the ticket for Wells

It has not been a great week for Irish football. Thierry Henry's handling may have cost the Republic a World Cup place and north of the border the Irish Football Association's mishandling of the case brought against them by the sacked English chief executive Howard Wells has cost them around half a million pounds. The former Wycombe goalkeeper, 62 and a former head of UK Sport, cited "victimisation on the grounds of racism" and was awarded over £200,000. With costs estimated at more than double that, the governing body faces a financial crisis. Apparently Wells' fate was sealed by the Belfast blazerati when, instead of giving their wives tickets for the directors' box at Windsor Park, he allocated them to the 1958 World Cup heroes who were paraded before match against the Czech Republic last year.

We need Fergie firepower

England's reshuffled World Cup bid still seems to lack a high-flyer prestigious enough to have the ears of the Fifa delegates flapping. Someone of real stature with the aura, personality and oratory to capture a football audience. Yet there is a famous figure out there who could sway things their way: Sir Alex Ferguson. If anyone can win over the Fifa groupies it is Fergie. The Football Association say that, like some other League managers, the Manchester United boss has been helpful to the bid, but surely by bringing him more into play – and his friend and bid director Seb Coe can be persuasive – how better to show Fifa that the FA and the Premier League are truly United in the bid? Though Fergie had best leave the hairdryer at home.