Portadown claim they are innocent in Tim Mouncey case
Irish FA disciplinary chiefs will meet on Wednesday, March 23 to determine if Portadown have been in breach of wage cap rules with regard to undisclosed payments to a player.
Automatic relegation from the Danske Bank Premiership is the published penalty, under IFA rules, for any club found acting in contravention of strict Salary Cost Protocol Regulations.
These govern the amount clubs can pay players in relation to their income with payments to amateur players a total taboo.
Portadown directors have denied yesterday's Belfast Telegraph revelation that a Northern Ireland Football League investigation had uncovered documentary evidence of undisclosed payments to midfielder Tim Mouncey, who is registered as an amateur.
A statement from the Ports said: "Following a request from the IFA, confidential records were passed to their offices on Monday of this week, demonstrating conclusively that the player in question did NOT receive any payment whatsoever from the club.
"The player is fully supportive of the club's position."
However, the Belfast Telegraph understands that no such document has been seen by NIFL, who carried out the original investigation into club payroll practices across the board.
NIFL sources, however, believe the paperwork they sent to the Irish FA supports their conclusion that Portadown have a case to answer.
There is no suggestion that the player concerned was aware of any possible breach of the rules.
The NIFL investigation covered all 12 Premiership clubs who were quizzed by a specially constituted three-member committee who also examined club payroll records.
Only two clubs were red-flagged, Portadown and Carrick Rangers, the latter over verbal disclosures which, it was felt, could not be proven.
In Portadown's case paperwork that NIFL believed showed wage cap rules had been broken was sent to the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee for them to decide on a course of action, if any.
An NIFL source said: "It will be interesting to see how the document Portadown have sent to the IFA differs from that sent by the League to the IFA in relation to the same matter."
Best case scenario for the Ports could be the deduction of the 17 points won in Premiership games in which Mouncey has played this season.
In a statement given to the Belfast Telegraph the Irish FA said: "As this is now a disciplinary issue the Irish FA cannot comment beyond confirming that a Disciplinary Committee hearing will take place on Wednesday March 23 when a judgement will be made."