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Bangor are facing third tier demotion over a lack of licence

By Keith Bailie

Published 15/04/2016

Dark days at Clandeboye Park: Bangor are facing demotion to third tier of Irish League football
Dark days at Clandeboye Park: Bangor are facing demotion to third tier of Irish League football

Cash-strapped Bangor have been hit with another seismic blow with the news that the 98-year-old club is about to be demoted to the third tier of Irish League football for the first time in its history.

The Clandeboye Road side failed to successfully complete their Championship Licence application before the closing deadline of March 31. This means they will be automatically relegated from Championship One to the newly-introduced Premier Intermediate League.

To make matters worse, the club will visit the High Court next Thursday to face a winding up order issued by TAL Engineering, the company who laid the 3G surface at the Bangor Fuels Arena home in 2013. Last week, a judge adjourned the case for a fortnight.

On the pitch, Garth Scates’ team have been battling against relegation but their efforts will now become academic.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that Bangor Football Club failed to submit all relevant documentation relating to the financial section of the Licencing process before the March 31 deadline.

Although the Irish FA Licencing Department will not make their final decision until April 25, as Bangor missed the deadline, they cannot be awarded a Championship Licence and therefore will not be allowed to compete in Championship One next season.

The Seasiders will instead take their place in the Premier Intermediate League, which will replace Championship Two as the third tier of Irish League football, at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.

The Irish FA, who cannot release the details of individual applications while the process is ongoing, said in a statement: “Bangor Football Club submitted an application for the award of a Championship Licence for season 2016-17. The application will be considered, along with all other applicant clubs, at the Licensing Committee decision-making meeting to be held on April 25 2016.”

If Bangor were to fold it could also have serious ramifications for Ards, who also play their home games at the Bangor Fuels Arena.

The exiled Newtownards club are hoping to secure promotion to the Premiership, sitting top of the Championship by four points.

This is the first time it has been mandatory for Championship clubs to obtain a Championship Licence and the Seasiders aren’t the only club to run into issues.

It was revealed last week that Championship Two club Limavady United will not receive a licence, which means they cannot gain promotion to Championship One, despite sitting second in the table.

Limavady Chairman David Young said: “We are certainly going to be appealing the decision. It is perhaps doubtful whether any appeal will be successful, but it is difficult to know at this stage.”

The option of appeal will also be open to Bangor, who were unavailable for comment.

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