Belfast Telegraph

Appeals process was farce, says Larne boss Smyth

By Stuart McKinley

Larne chairman Archie Smyth last night branded the Irish FA’s appeals process a farce with his club all but admitting defeat in their fight to stay in this season’s Irish Cup.

The IFA’s Appeals Committee sat last night to decide if an earlier decision to throw Larne out of the cup was flawed.

The Inver Park club, however, refused to attend the hearing after being given only 26 hours notice and having no time to prepare evidence.

“We were told on Monday at 4pm that the appeal hearing would take place on Tuesday at 6pm,” said Smyth.

“We were told that if we wanted to present any evidence that it needed to be in 24 hours in advance, giving us two hours to get anything we wanted together.

“It’s just a farce really.

“We knew the outcome of the meeting before it even took place.”

Newry City led Larne 2-1 when referee Raymond Crangle abandoned their Irish Cup fifth round tie on January 16 when fighting broke out on the pitch among players.

The semi-final draw, which was made on Saturday, put Linfield up against a list of four potential opponents, Larne and Newry, Loughgall — who is it understood were told on Monday night that they would be playing Newry on Saturday — and Coleraine, who are already in the quarter-finals.

“We could have got an adjournment of the appeal to give us time to prepare evidence, but that wouldn’t be fair on the teams left in the cup,” said Smyth.

“We’re still waiting to see if we’ll be fined a second time which is a farcical situation.

“How can you be fined twice for the same thing?”

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