Belfast Telegraph

Portadown chief Roy McMahon rages at IFA Appeals Board after damning report

By Graham Luney

Portadown came out fighting last night with chairman Roy McMahon accusing the Irish FA Appeals Board of being "arrogant" as well as "unprofessional" and using "a sledgehammer to open a nut."

McMahon let rip at disciplinary chiefs following the double blow of losing two appeals including one which deepens the Ports' relegation fears by rubberstamping a 12 points deduction.

An appeal against the significant point deduction for making irregular payments to players was thrown out by the Irish FA Appeals Board and Coleraine were awarded a 3-0 victory from the postponed Premiership fixture between the clubs in August when the Ports were suspended from all football activity for non-payment of a £5,000 fine.

The deduction was imposed after they were found to have paid former player Peter McMahon while he was registered as an amateur and it means the Ports remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership on minus six points, 10 points adrift of Carrick Rangers.

Portadown's board has come in for fierce criticism from fans after the highly critical report but chairman Roy McMahon was unrepentant despite the evidence included in the report and said the ruling had "shafted" the club.

"We feel shafted by the Irish FA Appeals Board and consider the verdict extremely harsh when compared to the treatment of other clubs," McMahon said last night.

"We are shocked by the final ruling and went into the process every step of the way confident our case would result in a positive outcome.

"We have held a meeting and will continue to take stock of the situation but stress everything that has been done by the directors is for the good of the club.

"We are volunteers and fans so we're hurt as much as anyone else by how things have turned out.

"I can appreciate supporters feel hurt but do not accept any accusations of lies by the directors to the fans."

McMahon also claimed members of the Appeal Board were "arrogant" and their ruling was likened to "taking a sledgehammer to open a nut".

He added: "We consider certain actions by the Appeals Board as unprofessional.

"But now it is about the club sticking together as one, starting on Saturday against Coleraine."

After last night's 4-3 loss to Crusaders in the League Cup, Portadown boss Pat McGibbon said: "A line can be drawn under the matter, the players now know the situation and they won't be throwing the towel in."

But the mid-Ulster side are in serious danger of losing their Danske Bank Premiership status as relegation fears and administration blunders cast a shadow over Shamrock Park.

Portadown were also fined and hit with a transfer embargo preventing the club from signing players on professional terms until June 2017, after irregularities were found in payments made to former striker Gary Twigg.

The Appeals Board ruling was damning - in his judgement, Appeals Board Chairman Joseph McCrisken accused Portadown of a "breathtaking breach of sporting integrity" and said their attempts to "deceive the Irish FA" by altering the contract documents of former player Peter McMahon "potentially constituted a criminal offence".

He added: "It is our view that, in the case of Peter McMahon, Portadown did not act with the transparency and integrity which was expected of them."

Belfast Telegraph


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