Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine in cash call to Irish league after Portadown farce

By Graham Luney

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney has called on the Northern Ireland Football League to give his club adequate financial compensation after the Bannsiders were awarded a 3-0 win from the postponed Premiership fixture against Portadown on August 6.

The Ports yesterday lost their appeal against a 12-point deduction for making irregular payments to players and it was the same outcome regarding their suspension from all football activity for the non-payment of a £5,000 fine, resulting in the season opening clash at the Showgrounds being called off.

Ports officials remained silent last night after the Irish FA Appeals Board issued a highly critical report, but Kearney, whose side travel to Shamrock Park on Saturday for a Premiership fixture, said: "This club took a big financial hit and hopefully NIFL can provide adequate compensation."

The NIFL Premiership Management Committee are expected to compensate Coleraine.

Kearney added: “We just wanted closure on this matter and we were hit with a double whammy as we couldn’t pocket the points and the opening day of the season is massive for us as we are a rural club that sells 60 to 70 per cent of our season tickets on that day.”

Bannsiders chairman Colin McKendry had slammed the ongoing saga surrounding Portadown’s disciplinary appeals as a “disgraceful state of affairs.”

Kearney (right) said: “It did take a lot of time to resolve and that was frustrating for many people but I’m sure Irish FA representatives were frustrated as well.

“It was possibly one of the most complex issues they have dealt with and they obviously needed time to make sure it was the right decision, with no legal comeback, while keeping an eye on regulations to make sure everything is done correctly.

“Sometimes these issues can take time to get sorted, and something similar happened regarding Warrenpoint’s appeal following the Gary Haveron case earlier this year.

“It wasn’t an ideal situation for anyone but it had to be resolved in the right way. In the modern world these things can take time to get sorted.

“From our persepctive we felt we were behind everyone else with the game not being played and we could have done with those points earlier in the season. I felt like we were in a false position in the league so it wasn’t a perfect situation to be in.”

Portadown remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership on minus six points, while Coleraine’s three additional points lifts them from fifth to third spot in the table.

The Irish FA Appeals Board accused Portadown of a “breathtaking breach of sporting integrity” while saying their attempts to “deceive the Irish FA” by altering the contract documents of former player Peter McMahon “potentially constituted a criminal offence”.

While the Irish FA disciplinary process will come under the microscope — the 12-point deduction was originally imposed on Portadown on June 14 — there will also be some serious soul searching at the club where fans feel badly let down by administrators.

Belfast Telegraph


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